Juan Thornhill turns Altavista into Chiefs country ahead of Super Bowl

Published: Feb. 5, 2021 at 4:37 PM EST
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ALTAVISTA, Va. (WDBJ) - From a small town to the big stage, Altavista native Juan Thornhill is set to compete for his second Super Bowl ring with the Chiefs Sunday.

“We’re Chiefs fans. We’ve become Chiefs fans,” said Dave Mabry, one of Thornhill’s former coaches at Altavista High School.

This time around, Thornhill will be in the defensive backfield after spending last year’s big game on the sideline due to injury.

“We’re from a small town. Who would’ve thought we’d have someone play in the Super Bowl back to back?” asked Altavista teacher Dana Waller.

The Central Virginia standout is no stranger to the bright lights, winning two football and three basketball state titles for the Altavista Colonels.

“When he played football here, it wasn’t just a one-person show; he was always a team player and he wasn’t saying, ‘everyone look at me.’ He was very humble,” said Waller.

His competitiveness on the gridiron paired with his hard work in the classroom took Thornhill from Altavista to the University of Virginia.

“He was definitely a student-athlete, not an athletic student,” said Altavista teacher Andrea Hundley.

“He understood the importance of his education and that’s what’s helped him get to where he is today,” added Waller.

Thornhill was drafted by the Chiefs in the 2nd round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

His hometown is proud of all he’s accomplished on the field, but even more so the man he is off it.

“We know him as a person and just because of how good a person he is, that’s why we’re so excited,” said Waller.

Now, he’s inspiring the next generation in Campbell County.

“The thing with Juan that I wish kids could see that they want to emulate is the work ethic,” said Mabry.

“It means a lot to me just being able to represent the state of Virginia and have a local guy on there that a lot of guys and kids will notice my face. It’s great just to be able to be that guy to represent his hometown,” said Thornhill.

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