Justin Miller Confident as Ever

Justin Miller is destined to pay immediate dividends on special teams but it is the cornerback position that is his true passion.

Justin Miller made his name known on the National scene with exhilarating kick returns and a knack for making the big play on defense during his three years at Clemson.

At the end of his playing days with the Tigers, Miller has his name etched into the top of the record books in most kickoff returns for a touchdown with five and career kickoff return average at 30.7.

He also added 13 interceptions and 44 passes defensed playing in the secondary.

That dual threat intrigued the Jets, who considered taking him with their first pick in the second round and lucked out when he fell to them 57th overall.

He has been all but anointed as the primary kick returner for the Jets this year and it is a role he gladly accepts.

"I love returning kicks," said Miller. "Every time I have the ball in my hands I love doing it."

The key to his success in the return game?

"I can't do it all," he admitted. "There are 10 other players on the field with me."

It just seemed like Miller was doing it all with his high average on returns and ability to find the seam.

Like a basketball player that begins to hit the three-pointers with regularity or a baseball player that is locked in at the plate, Miller has a constant comfort level as the lone man back and 11 players bearing down on him.

"I think you can get in a zone just like anybody else and it's really exciting," Miller said. "You get out there and have a couple good returns, after that I felt like I was going to take one back every time."

For all the talk about his ability on special teams, Miller makes it clear that cornerback is his first love.

"I feel that I'm a corner," he explained. "That's my first responsibility."

With the retirement of Donnie Abraham, the left cornerback position is up for grabs. Ray Mickens and Pete Hunter are vying for the open spot and have experience over the rookie.

But tenacity and aggressiveness have been traits that have served him well over the years and when he does a scouting report on himself it is one of the first thing he points to.

"My aggressiveness and energy level," Miller says of his strengths. "I bring a lot of energy to my team and try and be a spark for everybody else."

But in the new look NFL, physical corners are put at a disadvantage. The no touch rule after five yards puts wide receivers in an enviable position.

Don't look for the rookie to alter his game that much based on the rules. He is a player that not only excels at the line but opposing quarterbacks routinely threw the ball away from his playmaking skills.

"If you take away aggressiveness, then you've got a soft corner," says Miller. "And I don't think anybody wants a soft corner. You still want somebody to be physical and go out there and play the game. I could find a way to translate it. That's part of playing corner. You still have to play off, you still have to play zone. Man is just one aspect of playing corner."

While everyone knows he possesses the versatility to return kicks, it is his resourcefulness in the secondary that made him a second round pick.

Miller is hoping the hard work he puts in during training camp puts him in the defensive lineup when the season begins.

CUTigers.com Top Stories