When you look down the Bulldogs’ roster, one player stands out from the pack with his 6-foot-1-inch, 350 pound frame. That man is Danzell Maze.
Maze is a junior in social work. He has stepped in at right guard for Ferris early in the season and has helped lead the Bulldogs’ rushing attack.
A native of Grand Rapids, Maze didn’t play football until eighth grade when a friend roused him to give the gridiron a shot. This decision paved the way to domination in the high school ranks as he played both ways for Ottawa Hills, leading him to a two-time all-state pick and a college football scholarship at Ferris State.
Despite only starting two games in the 2012 season, Maze has seen great success playing this year as right guard and becoming a regular starter on the offensive line.
“From our offensive perspective [the offensive line] are the key to our success for sure,” head coach Tony Annese said. “If society could bottle the offensive lineman’s mentality, we would all be so successful.”
Sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan is leading the nation in rushing yards for a quarterback with 1162 yards. Vander Laan led all of college football as of Oct. 26, including the Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision and Divisions II and III in quarterback rushing yards.
Much of the offensive success can be attributed to Maze’s dominance from the guard position because much of the time he is one of the lead blockers for Vander Laan and company.
Maze uses his size and strength to push through defensive linemen. Although Maze is currently the heaviest player on the team, he shows surprising quickness and technique as he makes dominating opposing lineman a regularity.
“It’s definitely different because you don’t go against someone of that size on a normal basis,” sophomore defensive end Justin Zimmer said.
Zimmer lines up against Maze and the rest of the Bulldogs’ offensive line every practice and has experienced Maze’s power first hand.
“If he gets ahold of you, you’re not going anywhere,” Zimmer said. “I think he will be good for us in the future.”
Despite having to sit out during Ferris’ most recent match up against Wayne State, Maze has earned his spot at right tackle and looks to help the offense get even better in the future.
“I wouldn’t want to be a guy who is all talk and can’t back it up,” Maze said. “I like to let my game do the talking for me, that’s how I am and that’s what I think is best”
Maze reflects Ferris State’s offense as he has a high ceiling and a bright future moving forward. Only time will tell how far Maze and the rest of the Bulldogs’ program can go in the games to come.