Eagles victory sends Cocoa High School football alum to Super Bowl

Philadelphia Eagles’ C.J. Gardner-Johnson is 3rd former footballer from school in as many years to make it to top spot

COCOA, Fla. – Another Cocoa High School football alum has made it to the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia Eagles’ player C.J. Gardner-Johnson is the third former footballer from the school in as many years to make it to the top game in the sport.

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Brian and Del Johnson said that 20 years before the Eagles punched their ticket to Super Bowl Sunday, Gardner-Johnson dreamed of playing on football’s biggest stage.

“I texted him yesterday after the game, and I told him, ‘Since you were 4, this is what you’ve been wanting, and the time is here,’” said Del Johnson, the pair still processing their emotions after the biggest win in their son’s career so far.

At Cocoa High School, Gardner-Johnson’s teammates included his cousin Jawaan Taylor, of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Jamel Dean, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback, who won the Super Bowl two years ago.

The city of Cocoa awarded Dean a key to the city.

The city of Cocoa honors Jamel Dean with a key to the city after winning Super Bowl 55.

A similar celebration was held last year when another Cocoa alum, Javian Hawkins of the L.A. Rams, won a Super Bowl ring.

“I expect C.J. to be here,” said Brian Johnson, about his son playing in the Super Bowl. “He wants to be the best player ever.”

Gardner-Johnson’s parents started a New Orleans-themed coffee shop in Rockledge after the team that drafted their son—the Saints—and then opened a second store in Port St. John.

At Cocoa High School, the football program’s success continues, too.

In the last 15 years, the Tigers won five state championships, including last year under Head Coach Ryan Schneider.

Schneider said it’s special to have three alums on three consecutive Super Bowl teams.

“Not just for football, just quality young men who will exceed at the next level from college and all the way to professional,” he said.

When asked for their Super Bowl predictions, Brian Johnson predicted the Eagles will defeat the Chiefs, 24-17.

“Considering he’s our son, obviously, we’re representing the Eagles,” Del Johnson said.

If the Eagles win, the city said it will throw a celebration for Gardner-Johnson, just like it did for Dean and Hawkins.

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About the Author:

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.