CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — From a Panther to a Falcon, Joshua Keyes graduated from Chatham High School a football star and in just six years, he is on his way to the Super Bowl on the active roster of the Atlanta Falcons.
However, football was only one of his many passions growing up in Ghent.
“I just thought he was this great athlete and I didn’t know what to expect of his art but then, I realized he is a brilliant artist,” Patrice Tomaso, art teacher from Chatham High School, said.
That’s right. Before he was behind the line, the 6’2” 223 lb. portrait of toughness was drawing lines.
“His work was always what I would call expressionist, had a great way with color, working with charcoal,” Judy Harrigan, art teacher from Chatham High School, said.
His high school teachers say that Keyes played with the idea of going to school for art and one day designing snowboards, another passion of his. In fact, Temple University was actively pursuing him as an art major. Even his former coach says the NFL was more a fantasy than reality.
“I think if you asked him now, it was always a dream, but as far as him saying verbally I am going to be in the NFL, that wasn’t him,” Mark Dwyer, former head football coach from Chatham High School, said.
Then in his junior year, Keyes went from a budding artist to a blooming football player. He participated in a few elite football camps that summer and got noticed by Boston College.
“He saw that he was able to compete at that level, I think that’s when he had the realization,” Dwyer said.
On Wednesday, six years to the day that he signed with Boston College, he is getting ready to join his team at the Super Bowl and even though he ultimately chose football over art, his former teachers feel his artistic abilities may have still somehow played a role in his success.
“The way he worked and thought things through creatively, translated on the field,”