UTEP to Start Kavika Johnson in Austin

The tough task of beating Texas in Austin got a lot tougher with the injury to Zack Greenlee. The Miners will now start Kavika Johnson in Austin against the Longhorns. 

Johnson is a sophomore out of Las Cruces who's played quarterback, running back, and receiver at UTEP. Johnson is considered the best athlete in the quarterback room and too good of an athlete to hold a clipboard. 

Head coach Sean Kugler used Johnson as a package player in 2015, diverting from the Miners regular sets to give defenses a change of pace with the more athletic quarterback. Johnson saw his most significant playing time against Florida International last season completing 10 of 20 passes for 107 yards. When he entered that game, the Miners were down 28, and the game ended 52-10 for FIU.

On the season Johnson completed 50% of his passes in 2015 for 218 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. On the ground Johnson ran 73 times for 204 yards, 2.8 yards a carry.

Last week against New Mexico State Johnson caught two passes for 26 yards. 

On film, with the limited reps we've seen, Johnson is clearly a run first option. Last year he rushed 20 more times than he threw, granted he was a running back for part of the season. If he's going to have success on Saturday night in Austin he'll need help, help most readily available in Aaron Jones. I expect Kugler to get Johnson out of the pocket, to give him a run pass option. Johnson might give UTEP an edge with his athleticism and ability to break contain and make plays. 

Posted on September 8, 2016 and filed under Southwest Round-Up.