By Mason Plummer | Ball State Sports Link
Tense, anxious, nervous.
These feelings lingered over the Pinter family as they patiently waited for their son, Danny, to be drafted into the NFL.
Danny knew he could be picked anywhere from the third to the seventh round, but that is a massive gap when your entire future is at stake and nothing is guaranteed.
Each pick that crossed the ESPN broadcast on the Pinter television felt like an eternity, as the household waited to erupt when Danny’s name was announced.
“We all watched Danny’s every move,” said Danny’s sister, Erin. “Anytime he would pick up his phone we were all on edge, even if it was just to check Twitter.”
Danny could not help but express his frustration as he watched pick by pick go by, and his name was not called. The family would not hear from him for hours at a time as he sat glued to the television, waiting on the fateful call.
The only words uttered from Danny were the occasional grunt or sigh as the announcer read another player’s name.
“When they say it’s the longest couple days of your life, it is absolutely true,” Pinter said. “There are just so many variables that go into it and you never really know what is going to happen.”
The former Ball State Cardinal was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 149th overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft.
Once he was selected, the new Colt described the scene in his home — pandemonium.
“Everybody went crazy once I was picked, it was a pretty awesome atmosphere.”
The wait was over, the family finally got to celebrate, and Pinter, the South Bend native, was selected to play close to home where his family and friends will have the chance to watch him play every home game.
“I love Danny, I’m not going to lie,” Colts general manager Chris Ballard told reporters after the draft. “Actually, we were trying to move up to get him. I probably won’t ever give this much insight, but for like 30 minutes we were trying to move up and just couldn’t get up to get him.”
As for his fit with the Colts, Pinter could not have found a better home. The Colts boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, which will provide Pinter with plenty of veteran advice and critique.
“They’re known as one of the best lines in the league, so I am super excited to get in there and learn from them,” Pinter said.
A graduate of John Adams High School in South Bend, Pinter played tight end throughout his career there and played well enough to earn attention from college coaches.
“We originally had Danny at tight end with his size and athleticism, but we moved him around quite a bit,” said Pinter’s head coach at Adams, Craig Redman. “Having Danny on the team was like having a coach on the field. He is so smart when it comes to recognizing schemes and coverages, that we had him making checks as a tight end, to the offensive line.”
Redman spoke highly of Pinter, highlighting his former player’s toughness, determination and perseverance.
“Danny did everything we asked of him and more,” Redman said. “We had him playing tight end, defensive end, long snapper, short snapper, anything I needed, Danny was the man for the job.”
Pinter’s athleticism, versatility and intelligence are what make him stand out as a football player at every level.
His brains on the field also translate to the classroom, as Pinter was a great student in high school, as well as at Ball State where he earned a 3.7 GPA.
During Pinter’s time at Adams, he earned three letters in football, helping the team to an 18-14 record in his career. Pinter was selected to the All-Northern Indiana Conference first-team, as well as Indiana Football Coaches Association all-state as a senior.
He registered 46 catches for 792 yards in his career at Adams, while also adding 138 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and four blocked kicks on defense. Pinter also played basketball at Adams as he helped the team to back-to-back sectional championships.
Accolades aside, Pinter only received one Division I football scholarship offer: Ball State. The BSU staff took a chance and clearly it paid off handsomely.
When the offer came, Pinter had already committed to Division II Grand Valley State.
However, after much deliberation, Pinter decided to de-commit from GVSU and enroll at Ball State in 2015.
“It was a tough decision because I was committed to Grand Valley for so long,” Pinter said. “But the chance to come to Ball State and play at a Division I program was something I couldn’t turn down.”
As most freshmen do at Division I football programs, Pinter redshirted in 2015 before starting five games at tight end for the Cardinals in 2016 and six in 2017 before suffering a season-ending foot injury. He then added 50 pounds and moved to tackle in 2018.
Pinter’s senior season in 2019 was where he truly shined at Ball State and made a name for himself nationally.
The star lineman acquired notable accolades last season, including 2019 All-MAC First Team, 2019 Ball State John Magnabosco Award (most outstanding player), 2019 Ball State Paul Schudel Strength & Conditioning Award and the 2019 Ball State Dave McLain Leadership Award, which Pinter also won in 2018.
The momentum from the 2019 campaign led Pinter to be invited to the 2019 NFL Combine where he improved his draft stock tremendously. He posted the second-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.91) of all offensive linemen and was also in the top three in both the 20-yard shuttle and the three-cone drill.
Now with the Colts, Pinter is itching to get started and make a name for himself in the league.
“I am a competitive person, and I want to come in and compete,” Pinter said. “However it shakes out, I am going to put the team first and get better and better.”
The Colts are slated to open the 2020 regular season Sept. 13 at Jacksonville.