Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 222 pounds, Junior Miller was an imposing player from his tight end position for the Huskers. A first-team All-American in 1979, and two-time All-Big 8 selection, he holds the tight end receiving record for yards in a season (560).
Miller led the team in touchdown catches both his junior (6) and senior seasons (7) and was basically NU’s only scoring threat in the passing game. Miller is still considered by some as the best tight end Nebraska ever produced and his stats and honors back that claim up.
Prior to starring at Nebraska, Miller attended Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas where he excelled in both football and basketball.
“I was a better basketball player than football in high school,” Miller said. “I was only 6-foo-4 but I played center because I could jump. I used to be able to jump and touch the white line at the top of the bank board.”
Basketball powers UCLA and Kentucky were just some of the schools that recruited Miller for basketball. In fact, he was recruited more for basketball than football. But teams such as Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas Tech really liked this athletic kid for football.
Miller took recruiting trips to Texas Tech, Kentucky and Nebraska. His mom wanted him to stay closer to home and attend Texas Tech and Kentucky was an attractive destination for basketball but football and his visit to Nebraska won out.
“I loved hitting and the contact of football. I felt that I had a better future in football than basketball,” he said. “The biggest reason I liked NU was the people of the state of Nebraska. I felt the warmthness there. You know when you go to a place and you feel like its home. I also loved the cold weather and the snow, because in Midland, Texas, you don’t get that.”
Miller played linebacker in high school but when Nebraska started him out at tight end he began to grow at that position. “Nebraska had a freshman team which allowed players the opportunity to play. Coach Osborne asked if I wanted to play linebacker before my sophomore year but I told him I wanted to stay at tight end.”
Good thing too…as NU fans got to see one of the best in Husker history.
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Shane Gilster is the Editor of Big Red Report Magazine. His stories focus mainly on catching up with former Huskers and examining Nebraska athletic history.