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NFL Draft: Kilgore College coach J.J. Eckert talks Lane Johnson's athleticism, character

by Jason Kersey Published: May 6, 2013
Former Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, right, was selected fourth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in last month's NFL Draft. AP PHOTO
Former Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson, right, was selected fourth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in last month's NFL Draft. AP PHOTO

NORMAN — A few weeks before the NFL Draft, former Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson worked out for the Philadelphia Eagles in his hometown of Groveton, Texas.

Kilgore College football coach J.J. Eckert watched Johnson, marveling at his old quarterback’s completely transformed body.

Even more amazing, though, is that Johnson maintained his speed despite gaining 100 pounds of mass over the past five years.

“Watching him go through drills that day for the Eagles, that was amazing,” Eckert said. “I’m watching a guy that’s big, long and athletic stick his foot in the ground and change directions. Doing bag drills. It’s a remarkable story, and I think it’s a great tribute to what Lane has done as far as his physical development in five years of college football.”

The Eagles liked what they saw that day in Texas. So much, in fact, that Philadelphia grabbed Johnson with the NFL Draft’s fourth overall pick last month.

In an extensive telephone interview, Eckert also spoke about Johnson’s character, which he said was on full display during that Eagles workout.

Philadelphia offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland approached Eckert and asked, “Do you see Lane being a prima donna?”

Eckert responded by pointing to Johnson, who was catching snaps for former OU deep snapper James Winchester, who was seeking his own NFL opportunity.

“He’s snapping at the end of the workout, and guess who’s catching short snaps for field goals? Lane Johnson,” Eckert said. “Guess who’s back there catching punts? Lane Johnson.

“I said, ‘Do you think a big-headed primadonna would be back there doing that?’ That kind of speaks volumes about his character. That’s just him in a nutshell. He’s gonna do what’s best for everyone around him. I think that’s what’s allowed him to get where he’s at today.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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