Former Pitt standout Aaron Donald has a new honor to celebrate as tonight he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle finished the year with 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 41 tackles in just 14 games after holding out and missing training camp, the preseason and the first and last game of the year. Donald, who was also selected as a First Team All-Pro for the third consecutive season was a dominant force throughout the year for the 11-5 Rams. He is the first defensive tackle to win the award since Warren Sapp in 1999.
As a three year starter for the Panthers, Donald was a consensus All-American in 2013, and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the Bronco Nagurski Award, the Chuck Bednarik Award, the John Outland Trophy and the Vince Lombardi Award.
Donald was drafted by the Rams in the 1st round, 13th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and started 12 games in his rookie season.
Donald, as many readers know, grew up in Pittsburgh and attended Penn Hills High School, earning AAAA All-State honors in his junior and senior years.
Considered only a three-star prospect, Donald was not highly recruited out of high school. An omission which seems all the more ridiculous now, considering his collegiate and NFL achievements.