FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — During his time at Arkansas, senior offensive lineman Dan Skipper has become a master at protecting.
In his first three seasons on campus, all of which he’s played significantly, the Razorbacks have given up the fewest sacks in the SEC.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The 6-foot-10, 319-pound Skipper has also spent his offseason’s fending off those with bad late-night intentions, working a part-time job for a private security company as a bouncer at live music venues.
Skipper regularly worked at George’s Majestic Lounge and Smoke and Barrel on Dickson Street just east of campus, and the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers.
“It started with the Walmart AMP,” Skipper told SEC Country at local media day Sunday. “There were a lot of really good shows, and I thought it would be nice to make money while seeing concerts. Then as I started getting into it I really liked the people I was working with, so I took on more.”
Once fall camp comes around, Skipper no longer works in order to devote his full attention to the upcoming season. He saves the money he earns over the winter, spring and summer to have a little extra to spend during the fall.
Some may think an athlete with Skipper’s size never has to lift a finger as a bouncer just based on the intimidation factor. But Skipper says that’s not always the case, as the right amount of alcohol sometimes gives patrons more courage than they should have.
“There was one old boy who I kicked out for breaking one of our rules,” Skipper said. “He decided to hop the back fence and come in again. Then he decided he wanted to fight me, so I handled that. Then he came back again and decided he really wanted to fight. That was actually — that was a good one. But yeah, he was eighty-sixed. He jumped the fence to pick a fight twice. I can’t even fathom what would make someone want to do that. He was picked up with very easily.”
The goal for Skipper is always to deescalate any potentially troubling situation that may arise. Even he has found himself in situations that had him “a little freaked out” when dealing with unruly behavior.
“If you can just talk to someone before it gets out of hand, that’s the best thing you can do,” Skipper said. “If you can’t, and you actually have to get in the middle, then it becomes about separating the two parties, figuring out what happened and making our decision accordingly. Then sometimes there’s just stuff that once it escalates we’ve got to escalate with it and make sure you rely on everything you’ve done before and the people you’re working with have your back.”
Unsurprisingly, Skipper doesn’t go unrecognized by the Razorbacks fan base while on the job. He’s often stopped to take pictures or have a friendly conversation — especially when working on Dickson Street — which is what he says makes the job fun.
“Sometimes when you’re trying to deal with something and someone comes up to you, it’s like, ‘OK, timeout, I’ll talk to you in a minute. Let me go deal with this.’ But that’s part of it. There are usually a lot of great people there that are really understanding.”
Skipper is set to spend his final season at Arkansas as a leader on the offensive line. His position, almost certainly left or right tackle, is yet to be decided. But coach Bret Bielema knows he’ll play wherever the team needs him to, describing him as the ultimate teammate — a trait that even extends to his job off the field.
“I have never kicked a teammate out (while at work),” Skipper said. “I’ve seen them kicked out and I stayed off to the side. There’s been a couple times where I’ve had to tell guys to walk away from a situation … just trying to help them out. But overall, nothing too crazy with my teammates.”