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Orono senior defensive end Danny Striggow finishing a tackle in 2018

Danny Striggow had options. The Orono senior was a 2019 Class 2A wrestling state champion and was coming off a strong spring and summer of competitive wrestling. His two older brothers, Jackson and Bobby, were already key pieces of the University of Michigan wrestling team.

He could have joined them and been content.

But football was another passion of Striggow, a 6-4, 220-pound defensive end. With his size, agility and successful wrestling background, college football programs noticed.

First the University of Iowa. Then, in May, Minnesota.

“I never thought I was capable of playing college football,” Striggow said. “Iowa contacted me and I got calls and texts from coaches just about every day. Minnesota came out and watched me work out and invited me to camp.”

The Gophers offered him a scholarship. “They liked my size and my background in wrestling,” he said.

And Striggow was smitten with the thought of playing football in the Big Ten. The pull proved too strong for him to pass up.

Striggow gave a verbal commitment to the Gophers on Thursday, turning down the chance to join his brothers at Michigan and starting the timer on the end of his competitive wrestling career.

“It’s bittersweet,” Striggow said. “But this is a chance to play Big Ten football. It’s what kids dream about. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

Striggow said he knows some wanted him to stick with wrestling, but he never felt any pressure to decide one way or another.

“People have their opinions and some wanted me to stay with wrestling, but my family members kept it to themselves. They wanted it to be my decision and not push me into anything,” Striggow said.

He credited Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck’s boundless energy and relentlessly positive outlook as a big reason for becoming a Gopher. “No matter if he’s having a good day or a bad day, he’s always bringing the energy,” Striggow said. “I love the culture he’s brought and what he stands for. We have the same values.”

He’s the fourth Minnesotan to commit to U in the upcoming class of 2020. Rosemount wide receiver Jonathan Mann and Anoka linebacker Cody Lindenberg have accepted scholarship offers, and St. Francis tight end Wyatt Schroeder recently accepted a preferred walk-on offer.