Before he got drafted by the Eagles, Lane Johnson was a very average junior-college quarterback.
He spent one season playing for Kilgore College in East Texas, two hours from his hometown of Groveton — population, 1,057. Final stat line: 32-for-61 with 510 yards, three touchdowns ... and seven interceptions.
But a vicious tackle in a practice drill observed by a NCAA Division I coach catapulted Johnson from obscurity in junior college to Oklahoma, where he turned into an All-American and became a first-round draft pick for the Eagles in 2013.
Now, Johnson is giving back to the place he says “was pivotal for helping with my success.” The 29-year-old is donating $500,000 to Kilgore College to help build a state-of-the-art training facility for all Rangers athletes.
Construction on “The Lane” Athletic Performance Center will begin soon and is expected to be finished next spring, according to a release.
Johnson said in the release that his is an “underdog story” — small-town football, to junior college, to a major D-I program, to the NFL — and he knows it’s not necessarily unique to him.
“My whole purpose is to show them that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to,” he said. “The only ones who are going to stop them are themselves and people who are trying to diminish their confidence.”
And now, with six NFL seasons under his belt — and a Super Bowl ring to top it all off — he said it’s time to give back.