AUSTIN, Texas — Dan Buckner likes to talk. No, like really talk. Like late-shift radio DJ talk. Like talk the ears off a dead man talk. The good thing is, Dan Buckner also likes to catch footballs.
And he’s pretty good at that as well. The two strong suits have pretty much gone hand in hand for the talented sophomore flex end for the Texas football team because he’ll make an acrobatic catch one moment and tell you about it the next. Rather, he used to. The naturally flamboyant receiver has curbed his tongue lately but none of his confidence since arriving fresh out of a highly regarded program in Allen, Texas, where he was an All-American receiver who caught passes for 2,511 yards and 33 career touchdowns. Buckner had five catches for 62 yards in Texas’ season-opening 59-20 win over Louisiana-Monroe. However, it wasn’t long ago when he had to endure the normal growing pains that most high school stars who arrive on a college campus and are confronted with. Texas has a lot of Dan Buckners, but that’s one reason he picked Texas over Oklahoma and other suitors. "I had a bigger head then,” Buckner said of his showboating. "They leveled me down here. I got the message and threw that other stuff to the wayside. I went from being one of the best to among the best. "It was very humbling. Everybody’s big-time here.” Buckner awaited his chance as an impatient freshman. He saw the field for 12 games last season but caught just five balls, two of them for touchdowns, as he was slotted mostly as an ideal red-zone receiver because of his size. Of course, Texas is loaded at receiver. Seven receivers and running back Vondrell McGee caught passes in the opener. "Here’s the deal with Dan,” receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said. "That’s why we play him two or three positions. He’s super bright and intelligent. Sometimes people take that as a gabby goose. There’s no doubt he enjoys talking, but he’s starting to channel that in the right direction.” That direction could be downfield in the future. Buckner can stretch the field and, with his 6-4 height, take advantage of mismatches with slower linebackers and shorter safeties. And Buckner doesn’t mind telling people about it. "He talks a lot,” linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy said.