HOUSTON – As a kid growing up in Humble, Jerrod Johnson had big dreams.
“I wanted to play at (Texas) A&M. I wanted to play varsity at Humble, and I wanted to get an opportunity to play in the NFL,” Jerrod said.
His love for sports started early.
“I literally grew up here, and some of my best moments in sports were actually when I was a ball boy when my dad was a coach here at Humble," Jerrod said. “We had David Boston, David Givens and Sammy Davis."
His dad Larry Johnson played football at Texas A&M, and Jerrod wanted to follow in his footsteps. As a sophomore in high school, Jerrod committed to A&M, originally as a basketball player.
“We actually lost to Kevin Durant when he played for the (AAU) D.C. Blue Devils and he dropped 47 in Vegas my junior year. I remember kind of walking off the court and called my dad and was like, ‘Yeah, I need to start taking drops, because if there are guys out there like that, football may be my ticket,'" Jerrod said.
Jerrod achieved his dream of becoming an Aggies quarterback. But in 2007, his dad unexpectedly passed away.
“That was the hardest thing I had to deal with at the time,” said Jerrod. “I remember being at his funeral and seeing all the people who came; from his old teammates to his students. To see all the lives that he had impacted and to know that that was my dad, you know, it just made me proud.”
Jerrod said he and his brother Marquis talk about the good times with their father often.
"We’re thankful he was in our lives as long as he was, to build a foundation of who we have become as men.”
The untimely death of his dad turned his dream to coaching. After playing some football professionally, and training quarterbacks in the Houston area, he is living the coaching dream with the Indianapolis Colts as the offensive quality control coach.
“When I’m going through a hard time or a tough time, or even a situation with a player, there are so many moments where I just have his voice in my head. One of his terms was always ‘hard work and prayer are undefeated,’” said Jerrod, adding that he often uses that phrase with kids and players.
Another phrase from the late Larry Johnson: “Always go down swinging.”
“All these different things he taught me as a child, I use them daily, and I’m forever grateful.”
The basketball court at Humble High School is named after Larry Johnson, who was the school’s principal at the time of his death.
“He always wanted to talk about legacy, how to carry yourself, and how to handle yourself,” Jerrod said. “Those are the things I try and live by every day.”
Jerrod is early in his coaching career but says his aspiration is to be a head coach in the NFL. Through each step of his journey, he hears his dad’s voice.
“He would always say ‘Have integrity. Players can smell B.S. So just be who you are, do what you say you’re going to do and treat players with respect,'” said Jerrod. “He was my role model, and I like to aspire to be like he was.”