In the West Texas town of El Paso, you can find Jameill Showers working on his master’s degree in construction management off the football field.
Fittingly, Showers is helping first-year coach Sean Kugler build up the University of Texas at El Paso Miners into a Conference USA contender in the next two seasons.
“You get to use a lot of aspects of construction management in football,” Showers said. “You have to communicate, you have to be a leader.”
In six starts this season, Showers completed 57 percent of his passes (106 for 185) for 1,259 yards 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Showers is UTEP’s (1-5, 0-3 Conference USA) second leading rusher with 273 yards and four touchdowns on 58 carries.
He began his collegiate career at Texas A&M, but transferred after two seasons and 11 games after 2012 Heisman Trophy-winner Johnny Manziel solidified himself as the starter for the Aggies.
Showers decided to transfer and chose UTEP over Houston and Arizona State. Because he finished his undergraduate degree in university studies, he was eligible to play for UTEP this season.
UTEP offensive coordinator Patrick Higgins has seen Showers serve as a leader of a Miner offense that is averaging more than 400 yards per game.
“He knew the playbook before he got here,” Higgins said. “He put the time in, executed what we asked him to in camp and being accountable and responsible. He became a leader through action instead of words.”
Showers is used to going long on the field and as it turns out, off it. He chose the Miners over the Cougars despite the fact that his parents, Shauna and James, live in Houston, 700 miles away from UTEP’s home stadium.
“It was a do-or-die decision for me because I still want to go to the NFL,” Showers said. “If I would have gone to Houston and closer to home, I feel like I would have had more distractions. Out here, you have to play $300 for a plane ticket to just go home or $200 in gas to go home so I’m out here to focus on football and school.”
Showers was born in Alpine and his parents are Sul Ross State graduates, so the far west portion of the state wasn’t foreign to him.
As a Grey Wolf, Showers built an impressive resume that included being named an honorable mention on the all-state team as a junior in 2008, a Preseason National Army All-American, Rivals Top 250 recruit, District 12-5A first team and offensive MVP honors and a spot on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team.
This came as no surprise to former Shoemaker head coach Ken Gray, who saw Showers’ potential well before the quarterback became a Grey Wolf.
“He always had an exceptional arm,” Gray said. “He’d come to the quarterback camps that we had at the high school and every year he’d get a little bit better. You could tell that he was going to develop into a good one.”
Showers’ senior season was over before it started because of a broken collarbone he sustained in a preseason scrimmage.
UTEP travels to Houston to play Rice on Saturday, but for Showers one of the biggest games on the schedule is just around the corner.
Although UTEP and Texas A&M are in different conferences, he said the Nov. 2 game has been on his mind a good portion of the season.
“It’s the biggest game we’ll play this year and the biggest team we’ll play this year, for sure,” Showers said. “I have a bunch of friends so there’s going to a be a lot of friendly trash talk.”