Danny Pinter's phone hasn't stopped going off in the last few hours.
"The second it got put up on the TV, it just blew up," Pinter said. "It's been it's been a crazy couple hours."
As his name appeared on screen in Indianapolis Colts blue and white at approximately 2:15 p.m. Saturday, the hard work of Pinter, former Ball State offensive lineman, paid off, as he became the 149th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
He was at his home in South Bend, Indiana, with his parents and sister right there and his brother waiting on standby for a FaceTime call. With the fourth round winding down and the Colts coming up with the third pick of the fifth round, his phone started to ring. It was a call from an Indianapolis area code, and all that went through Pinter's mind was "this is it."
"You wait for that moment, and it's hard to really visualize it before it happens because you're staring at your phone for hours," Pinter said. "It's hard to put into words."
Not only is he excited to stay close to home, Pinter said, but he's also ready to make an impression on the Indianapolis fan base.
"When you talk about football and the NFL in Indiana, it all centers around the Colts," Pinter said. "It's just an awesome culture ... a lot of really good people and it's an awesome fan base. I'm just really thankful to be a part of it."
Pinter is the first Ball State Football player drafted since Jonathan Newsome and Keith Wenning in 2014, the first lineman from Ball State drafted since Robert Brewster in 2009 and the 28th Cardinal draft pick in program history.
Pinter was the 29th offensive lineman taken in this year’s draft as well as the first player from to Mid-American Conference to hear their name called.
Now a Colt, Pinter has the job of protecting quarterback Philip Rivers, who is currently sixth on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list. Pinter said it hasn't quite hit him yet that he will be blocking for "one of the greats."
"When you think about it, he's been doing it the right way for a long time," Pinter said. "To have the chance to block for him and be on the same team as him is something I'm really looking forward to."
On the offensive line, Pinter joins the likes of Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski and Braden Smith. That group started every game for Indianapolis in 2019 — the only group in the NFL to do so. As an incoming rookie, Pinter said he's ready to soak up as much as he can from his new teammates.
"That's definitely my main focus is just to be receptive to any type of information I get that can help me," Pinter said. "I know I'm coming into a great group of guys that are great players and have been doing it for a long time. I'm just really excited to have the chance to learn from them and hopefully become a better player through them."
Players also heading to Indianapolis from this year’s draft include Michael Pittman Jr. from USC, Jonathan Taylor from Wisconsin, Julian Blackmon from Utah and Jacob Eason from Washington.
Pinter’s draft moment came after his performance at the NFL Combine Feb. 27-28, with the highlight of his time in Indianapolis being his running of the second-fastest 40-yard dash of any participating offensive lineman. As the only Ball State Cardinal invited to the combine, he made the most of his opportunity, making the NFL.com All-Combine Team and improving his prospect grade from having a “chance to make the end of a roster or practice squad” to becoming worthy of a “backup or special teamer.”
Pinter started his college career as a tight end at Ball State — the only school that gave him an offer. After redshirting in 2015 and making 11 starts over the next two seasons, Pinter made a position change to offensive line, where he stayed for his final two years of eligibility.
The switch panned out, as he went on to start the next 24 games and earn All-Mid-American Conference First Team honors as a senior — the first Cardinal to do so since 2013. He also won the John Magnabosco Award in 2019, given to the team’s most outstanding player.
Pinter said he can't thank all the coaches and teammates he's had over the last five years at Ball State enough for helping him get to where he is today.
"Ball State means everything to me. I know I wouldn't be at this point without them," Pinter said. "To have the chance to represent them, especially in the NFL, is something that I take a lot of pride in."
After the draft, Pinter said, he doesn't know what his next step is, but he does know how he's going to approach it, and it's nothing new to him.
"Same thing — just sticking to hard work and being a competitor," Pinter said. "That's certainly something that hasn't changed for me, and I don't plan on changing that. Whatever the next steps are, I'm just going to approach them with as much hard work and work ethic as I can."