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CM Life’s Evan Petzold talks Michigan football grad transfer target Mike Danna

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One of the top defensive ends in the Mid-American Conference last year could be heading to the Big Ten, and Petzold covered him all last year.

Presbyterian v Central Michigan Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Central Michigan Life is the student newspaper for Central Michigan University, and there may not be a better reporter up on the fourth floor of Moore Hall right now than Evan Petzold, a Maize n Brew alum.

I’m sure you are familiar with his Michigan football recruiting work, but Petzold also covered the CMU football team for CM Life in 2018.

Although it was an underwhelming season, there were a few bright spots, one of them being defensive end Mike Danna. He compiled 65 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss 8.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two touchdowns in 12 games in 2018.

Danna is now listed in the NCAA transfer portal, and Petzold reported Danna visited Michigan this past weekend. After 3-star athlete Amauri Pesek-Hickson de-committed from Michigan, it appears Harbaugh and company want a defensive line grad transfer, especially considering what Pesek-Hickson’s folks told the Detroit Free Press.

Maize n Brew caught up with Petzold to get a glimpse at what Danna would bring to Michigan if he were to transfer to Ann Arbor.

Maize n Brew: Tell us more about Danna in general. Did you ever get the chance to interview him or get to know him?

Petzold: Mike is a really humble guy. I’ve had the chance to interview him on multiple occasions, and I can’t say enough about his professionalism and love for the game. He kept his head up even through the struggles of a 1-11 season. Whether he leaves or stays at CMU, he’s next level talent without a doubt.

MnB: What was his main role at CMU?

Petzold: Starting defensive end.

Central Michigan v Toledo Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

MnB: Is he a better pass rusher or run stuffer?

Petzold: Of the 12 teams in the MAC, CMU was fourth in total defense and first against the pass. CMU’s defense ranked fourth nationally in passing yards allowed. Danna was the anchor on the defensive side of the ball, especially when it came to putting pressure on the quarterback. While he has the ability to be a key run-game stuffer, his skill set as a pass rusher is impressive in comparison to others in the MAC and across college football. He was named to the 2018 Pro Football Focus All-American First Team, which speaks for itself.

MnB: So since he is a better pass rusher and was a starter on the edge, why would Michigan want him? Don’t they need more depth in the middle of the defense?

Petzold: Since Michigan is going after Rice defensive tackle graduate transfer Zach Abercrumbia, I would assume he’d be the guy to help in the middle of the defense. Michigan doesn’t have much at defensive end. I could see Kwity Paye splitting time at defensive end and defensive tackle in order to free up space for a guy like Aidan Hutchinson to play at the other defensive end position. Honestly, I don’t think a rotation of Paye, Danna and Hutchinson at the defensive end positions would be anything less than par for the Wolverines. That is, if Danna picks Michigan.


I want to thank Evan for taking the time to answer some of my questions about Danna. Follow all the work Evan does on Twitter @EvanPetzold and on CM-Life.com.

Whether Danna brings his talents to Ann Arbor or not, one team will get one hell of a player when he makes up his mind.