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UTEP football: Kavika Johnson is 'starting to carve out his niche' in multiple roles

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Kavika Johnson has had a solid camp, and could find himself playing running back among other roles this season.

True freshman Kavika Johnson may be finding a depth chart home at running back according to coach Kugler after yesterday's practice in where Johnson saw an increase in reps at running back.

With some minor camp injuries to Darrin Laufasa, and Jeremiah Laufasa, the electric freshman from Las Cruces could be finding his way into UTEP's backfield but not as a QB as he was originally recruited to do.

"He's certainly talented enough to play running back," Head Coach Sean Kugler said of Kavika Johnson,  "He's got the mental makeup to do that, so we're going to give him opportunities there (running back) and we're going to use him  in other capacities."

"He's a very talented young man that we're trying to find a role on this team and I think he's starting to carve out his niche, he's a young man I think the Miner fans will get really excited about."

More speed, and explosiveness behind UTEP's talented offensive line is never a bad thing.

In other camp news from Thursday, it appears kicker and former Franklin High grad Alan Luna has almost cemented the punting job, while Jay Mattox is slated for kickoffs and place kicking.

Also mentioned in Kugs' media meet up after Thursday's practice is the progression of a group of true freshman who could find themselves on the depth chart in major roles this coming season.

Kugler mentions defensive backs Kalon Beverly, and Michael Lewis as true freshman who have cracked the two deep in UTEP's dime and nickel packages. He also mentions tight end Cole Ford, fullback Brad Zaffram, and wide receiver Warren Redix as guys who are competing for spots this year, with no red-shirt in mind.

"These are all guys who are going to compete and play for us," Kugler said of the mentioned freshman, "I don't have a problem playing a freshman as long as they are mentally and physically ready and I think that the group I just mentioned is."

Cole Freytag and defensive back Nik Needham both talk about how camp is going, and give us a little insight on the early preparations for Arkansas.

Freytag has had one the best camps out of all the wide receivers, the junior from El Paso maybe turning a corner from a reserve role, to a prominent target in the UTEP passing game.

Needham was MinerRush's spring game MVP, and is another valuable part of UTEP's deep stable of defensive backs.

We're in the home stretch of Camp Ruidoso, the Miners have one more full padded practice today, then a workout in shorts tomorrow ahead of Sunday's important scrimmage.