CRETE, Ill. – It’s the rare moment that epitomizes the social media society in which we live.
The subject of a number of cell phone pictures being taken inside the hallway of Balmoral Elementary was getting a few snapshots of his own to use on his social media accounts.
Laquon Treadwell also had his video rolling as he walked underneath and arch of blue and gold balloons away from the main entrance of the school toward the gym. Cheering students got louder and louder as the receiver got closer, waving their signs that featured Treadwell’s high school jersey and his picture from his days at Ole Miss.
When he entered the room, the cheers were louder as “We Will Rock You” blasted on the loudspeakers. He reached down to shake the hands of students as he made his way to the front the room for a short presentation. The students were quiet as Treadwell spoke softly to the gathered audience in the gym and then later to those who gathered for another talk in the school library.
“It’s an overwhelming experience,” said Treadwell of visiting three of the schools he used to attend on Monday-Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center in Ford Heights, Crete-Monee High School and Balmoral. “I enjoyed every minute of it from the time I walked into the first school early this morning to now with the younger kids.
“The amount of joy and the amount of passion they have, screaming my name, it’s amazing.”
Wait till Thursday night when it’s Roger Goodell who will likely be reading his name in the first round of the NFL Draft. The MMQB, NFL.com, WalterFootball.com all have Treadwell being selected among the top 31 picks at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. It will be the culmination of a standout career at Crete-Monee in which he was the Nation’s No. 1 receiver recruit for the Class of 2013 according to Rivals.com and ESPN.com.
The potential carried over to Ole Miss where Treadwell snagged 202 catches for 2,393 yards and 21 touchdowns in three seasons. Most impressive were the 82 catches, 1,153 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 which came after the receiver broke his leg late the previous season.
Treadwell’s efforts on the field produced the chance he’ll likely get on Thursday. But it also earned him the heroes welcome at home on Monday. In a week which he’ll be in the national spotlight with other prospects across the country, there was something special about grabbing the spotlight at home.
“It’s very humbling to see the amount of influence I have on these kids from around the neighborhood,” said Treadwell, who also had the student line the halls as he walked through the school on Monday. “The same neighborhood that I walked and ran and rode bikes with my friends.”
During the assembly and a few breakout sessions with the kids in attendance, Treadwell used his platform to discuss the journey he took from their seats at Balmoral to one in the Green Room at the NFL Draft.
“It’s unbelievable, the same teachers are still here. Just the remember their faces and know when I was 5 and 6 they were telling me the right things. Just to being able to tell the kids that you know their teacher has the best interest,” said Treadwell. “They always mean right and they always want to lead you to the person to the person you want to become.”
Tami Treadwell, Laquon’s mother, has watched her son grow into the person he wanted to become since his time at Balmoral, Cottage Grove and Crete-Monee High School. She was along for the journey to the trio of schools on Monday as he made the unique transition from student to mentor.
“It got emotional when I walked into Balmoral Elementary School and I saw the kid’s faces lighten up,” said Treadwell. “I got teary-eyed.”