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Q&A With Miner Great Johnnie Lee Higgins

We caught up with former Miner, Raider, and Eagle Johnnie Lee Higgins as the UTEP Centennial Celebration is in full effect.

Jared Wickerham

MinerRush:  How does it feel to be considered one of the greatest Miners of all time?

Johnnie Lee Higgins: Its truly an honor.  It feels good, when they gave me the call and told me that I made the team and everything I was just really happy.  I spent a lot of years out here at UTEP and to me its my second home.

MinerRush: What advice would have for the current group of Miners who are 5-4, fighting for a bowl berth?

JLH: Just keep on fighting man, my main thing is can't nobody tell you what you can and cannot do. If its in your heart to do it, just go out there and give it all you got.

MR: How often do you keep up with the Miners?

JLH: I get to see them if they're on TV, I keep up with them on the internet, and I still talk to a lot of people that are down here so I stay in contact.

MR: What do you say to a guy like Autrey Golden who is a big time kick returner in the college ranks?

JLH: Hey man, just run like somebody is about to murder you.  That was my thing you know I was the smallest guy on the field, and I knew they wanted to come and knock my head off so I just ran scared.

MR: How special was it to play in front of Oakland Raider fans where you were a fan favorite?

JLH: Those fans right there, they are the number one fans in the world. No matter what man they're good.  The Black Hole is crazy, it gets crazy, and they get excited, and they get me excited and that's just how it is.

MR: Talking about playing with guys like Jordan Palmer, and all the other big time names in the Mike Price era?

JLH: Oh man it was fun we weren't just teammates you know we're still good friends and we still talk.  Its just an honor, you know sad that we lost T. Howard.  Good friend even when I was in Oakland, we played together in Oakland.  It just an honor to be on the same page as all of them.  Howie, (Howard Jackson), man me and Howie we grew up down the street from each other, so I see him every now and then and we still argue about who is the fastest, which we know whose the fastest, proven. But its just an honor.

MR: What kind of impact did Mike Price have on your career?

JLH: He actually changed my mind because I was really trying to get out of UTEP.  You know my mom was just like hey, just try and see how this new coach is and everything so I gave it a try and it taught me a lot, he taught me a whole bunch  He's just not an on the field coach he's a life coach.