Every year a story emerges in college sports that seems too good to be true. This year, perhaps the best story is Jerrod Johnson, the play-making junior quarterback for Texas A&M.
A few days ago, Sports Illustrated featured Johnson's remarkable story in a piece called, "Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson's Story is Best You've Never Heard." But now more and more people are hearing the story. And there is much in it to admire.
Johnson is very much the product of his small hometown of Humble, Texas. This city of nearly 15,000 near Houston helped create a thoughtful and decent young man. But he benefited not only from his town, but from his extended family.
As the article notes:
"He is the son of a high school teacher and high school administrator. Pam and Larry Johnson's faith and compassion ran so deep they took in nearly two dozen foster children while Jerrod and his brother, Marquis, were growing up. When Jerrod was 3, the state took custody of the child of one of Pam's friend. Pam's heart broke at the thought of the child, a boy named Kendall, not having a home. Larry and Pam went through foster parent training and raised the child until the state found a permanent home."
The Johnsons had found a calling: they would be foster parents. They wanted to bring as many kids as possible to their home in Humble where they could mold these young lives with small town values:
"From then on, the Johnsons gave foster children everything they could -- holiday parties, gifts, vacations, a church home, a family's love. They accepted kids of every age, so long as they were boys.
"Some of the children were infants. Some were young teens. Some were children of crack and heroine addicts. Some suffered from severe developmental and health issues. Some simply were abandoned. Some were black, some were white, some were Hispanic. It never mattered."
What did matter was using their home as a laboratory to change lives. Not long ago, Jerrod's father, Larry, passed away. But the impact of his father remains:
"At Larry's funeral, Jerrod spoke in detail of the lessons his father taught him. Marquis did an impeccable, humorous impersonation of how his boisterous, affable father would implore kids to always do the right thing. On the front row of the church sitting next to Pam was Joe, the Foster child who spent nine years with the family."This season, much will be made about Jerrod Johnson the athlete. But a more interesting story is how his town and his family created him. Read more about it at: