Akron Zips' WR JT is taking another 'Lane' into professional sports

Jerome Lane Jr. (Source: University of Akron)
Jerome Lane Jr. (Source: University of Akron)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - When the 2017 NFL Draft begins at the end of the month, one University of Akron football player will be waiting anxiously to try on his new team's cap and get right to work.

Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, James Harrison, Jason Taylor, and Josh Cribbs are just a few of the names to come out of the MAC conference and move on to NFL stardom -- now Jerome Lane Jr. Is trying to do the same.

Lane is leaving college as a junior and knows he's not likely to be picked in the late first round or early second round but Lane says he'll be ready wherever he goes.

"It's been a lifelong dream to play in the NFL or the NBA since I was little kid so I also felt like I was able to do it so I kind of jumped at it," Lane explained. "It's a lot of competition in the MAC, a lot of people don't know that and I feel like it prepared me for the NFL."

If the name Jerome Lane sounds familiar it should - his dad Jerome Lane was a star basketball player from Akron, played his college ball at Pitt, shattering records and backboards, and later six seasons in the NBA including one with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But JT, Jr. steered clear of Pitt despite receiving offers out of high school -- mainly wanting to stay in his own "lane."

"I was strongly considering Pitt cuz of my father but I really kind of wanted to do my own thing. Like everyone thought I was going to St. V's, I went to Firestone. Everybody thought I was going to Pitt, I went to Akron. And one thing that really swayed my opinion was at the time The U Movie had came out and a bunch of guys from Miami went to the U to make it a better university so I wanted a lot of guys from Akron to go to Akron to make it a better university," Lane said. "A couple guys went there but a couple guys went their own way so I made the best of it."

Even though he didn't land at Pitt like his dad, the burden of the "Lane" name still goes with him and he admits it's both a gift and a curse.

"It's good but I feel like it's bad at the same time because you know I get a lot of love and support from the hometown community to make sure I'm on the right path and make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing but at the same time it's a burden because maybe sometimes they expect too much from me or sometimes they're a little too hard on me or sometimes they want to be a little to overprotective of me..but I guess it is what it is," said Lane.

So with basketball in his bloodlines...why football?

"Growing up I played basketball and football. Basketball, I felt was more of a job but football, I've always had fun doing it. So as I got closer and closer to the end of high school I had more success in football, I was getting a lot of offers in football, I was having fun in football so I said let's just take the football route," explained Lane.

Or, he may have also just wanted to follow in his mother's footsteps. Yes, I said mother. Tracey Henderson-Lane was the first girl to play football for the Little League teams in the city of Akron in 1978. Check her out in her Rams uniform sporting a big afro!

Lane talked about how having teams interested is an awesome feeling, but what really matters is getting on a team where he fits right in. As for what team he'd want to go to he said he's just anxious to play in the NFL, the team doesn't really matter. However, growing up in northeast Ohio Lane has an eye on a certain team and feels he'd fit in just fine.

"I feel I would fit real good with the current Browns team. I feel I would fit their scheme -- I would come in and help them with whatever they need me to help with, their offense, special teams, whatever they need me to do. I feel like I would come in ready to work, ready to make the team better," Lane stated. "I'm a huge walk by faith not by sight guy so I just let God take the wheel and let the chips fall where they may."

And that, is the kind of attitude that should make him successful no matter what team drafts him.

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