Irish in on junior receiver.

Allen high school (Texas) head coach Tom Westerberg has seen his fair share of Division I prospects work their way through his program, so when the Notre Dame coaches stopped by his office last spring, he knew the Irish would be interested in taking a look at Dan Buckner.

When Dan Buckner (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) was a lanky freshman, coach Westerberg saw his potential immediately. Buckner wasn't quite ready to make an impact at the varsity level at that time, but Westerberg knew it wouldn't be long until he did.

"Coming up his freshman year we knew we were going to have a pretty special receiver and he ended up starting for us as a sophomore," coach Westerberg said of his standout wide receiver. "We're a four-wide spread team and anytime you can get a receiver that's 6-foot-5, that runs a 4.5 forty and has good hands, you want to have him.

"He's a guy that we try to get the ball in his hands whenever we can. He runs [routes] that any other outside receiver would run. We have a quick game where we try to get it to him pretty fast on some stop and slants routes. We also throw some deeper posts and go routes.

"There aren't a whole lot of corners around college football that are 6-foot-2, so you can get a lot of mismatches when you have a guy like Dan," he added.

The Notre Dame coaches obviously agree with Westerberg's assessment of Buckner's potential. Once the Irish staff had an opportunity to see Dan in person, a scholarship offer soon followed.

"I've talked to Jappy Oliver and coach Ianello. Jappy Oliver has recruited this area for quite a while. I remember him coming through this area when he was with the Air Force Academy," coach Westerberg said. "They came in last spring and we sat down in my office and talked about our younger players. I gave them Dan's name and he ended up going to their summer camp. He must have done pretty well at the camp, because they got in touch with me right at the beginning of the football season.

"I'm not sure who all has offered him, but I know Notre Dame has. I know Rice has and Baylor. Those are some of the offers that have come through the football office. He could have some others that went directly to his house that I don't know about.

"I know he really likes them. He's pretty fired up about it," coach Westerberg said of Buckner's interest in Notre Dame. "If you're a receiver, Notre Dame would be a great place to go with coach Weis' offense and with his background in the NFL…that's a huge draw."

Through five games, Dan has 21 receptions for 257 yards and three touchdowns.

Allen plays at Wiley high school (Texas) tonight at 7:30 p.m.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories