Pittsburgh's Donald wins Outland Trophy

December 12, 2013

Pittsburgh star defensive tackle Aaron Donald became the fourth player to sweep the Football Writers Association of America's top two individual player awards on Thursday night when he accepted the 68th Outland Trophy.

Donald, a 6-0, 285-pound senior from Pittsburgh, Pa., joins three other stellar defensive players to win both awards: Arizona's Rob Waldrop (1993), LSU's Glenn Dorsey (2007), and Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh (2009).

"Leverage, I feel that is my advantage," Donald said. "I am lower to the ground. I feel it is my leverage and quickness.  I started weight lifting when I was 12 with my dad early in the morning down in my basement at home. I have always had that work instinct."

He's the second Pittsburgh player to claim the Outland Trophy after Mark May (1980).

Donald also won the Bednarik Award on Thursday night after becoming Pittsburgh's first defensive player to capture a national individual award since Hugh Green in 1980 when he took home the Nagurski Trophy at an awards banquet in Charlotte. On Wednesday night, he won the Lombardi Award in Houston.

"I wanted in this season to come out an All-America," Donald said. "This is past my expectations being up for all of these individual awards."

Donald, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, averages 2.2 tackles for loss per game. He also ranks tied for 10th in forced fumbles and tied for 13th in sacks. Of his 54 tackles this season, nearly half (26.5) have been behind the line of scrimmage.

"He's a one man wrecking crew," North Carolina coach Larry Fedora said. "The guy is all over the play. For a big guy like that he's quick as a cat now. He can move. He's like a skilled athlete but in a big body. And he's just got a knack and he plays hard. What a great player."

Additionally, Donald had several key performances during the season:
• Donald made the decisive play in Pitt's 17-16 win at Syracuse, blocking an extra point and making the team bowl-eligible.
• In a game against North Carolina, Donald registered three tackles for losses, forced a fumble, broke up one pass, and made five quarterback hurries.
• Against Duke, he tackled the quarterback and running back and brought them down at the same time on an option read play.
• In a game against Georgia Tech, he registered six tackles for loss.

Pittsburgh finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and is headed to play Bowling Green in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 in Detroit in Donald's final college game.

By Staff of The Daily Sports Herald and news services

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