Junior Miller was a coach’s dream. A big tight end with enough speed to be a factor in the play-action passing game — that meant long gainers, sometimes spectacular. But, just as important in Tom Osborne’s offense, an effective blocker.
Miller’s Nebraska career average of 18.4 yards per reception reflected his explosiveness. He had the majority of his 61 catches and 1,123 yards in two seasons as a regular.
The 6-foot-4, 239-pounder out of Midland, Texas, blossomed as a junior in 1978 with a team-leading 33 receptions for 609 yards (18.5 per catch) and six touchdowns. He was first-team all-conference for the Big Eight co-champions.
He boosted his stock as a consensus All-American in his senior year. Miller had 23 receptions for 435 yards (18.9 per catch) and seven touchdowns. He added eight rushes for 80 yards.
A first-round draft choice by Atlanta in 1980, Miller made the Pro Bowl in his first two NFL seasons. He would never top his rookie totals of 46 receptions for 584 yards (12.7 per catch) and nine touchdowns.
The Falcons changed offensive philosophies in Miller’s third year. The tight end wasn’t involved in the offense as much. After two down years, he was traded to New Orleans for a draft choice. He caught eight passes in 1984 and then was out of football.
These are the players who built Nebraska football.
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