Aaron Donald is one of the most recognizable and talented players in the NFL.
He’s universally recognized as the league’s best defensive player as he recently won the Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his young career.
All of these are things that Pat Narduzzi is able to ultilize as he attempts to recruit talent to Pitt.
The Aaron Donald factor was used to in getting a talented player from Michigan to make an unofficial visit Wednesday night.
Bryce Austin is a three-star defensive tackle from Southfield, Michigan and holds offers from over 20 programs including Pitt, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Boston College, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Rutgers, Syracuse, Washington State and West Virginia.
Not only was Austin in town Wednesday but he stayed overnight in order to go on a tour of the university Thursday. Pittsburgh Sports Now was able to talk to Austin as he traveled back to Michigan.
“When I originally started talking to Pitt, I really wanted to meet Aaron Donald in person,” Austin said. “They told me that he was going to be there on March 9 for a basketball game. Then two nights ago they texted me and said sorry for the late notice but Donald’s schedule changed and he’s coming to the game against Clemson and asked if I wanted to come then instead. They said if you can’t make it because of so short notice we understand. I asked my mom and she said let’s go.”
Austin made the trip and was able to meet and take a picture with his favorite player.
“Honestly, I was in awe. When I first saw him he was about to walk through the tunnel and Coach Archie stopped him and asked him I wanted to take a picture with him. I said let’s do it.”
“Aaron Donald is an undersized defensive lineman like I am,” said Austin. “We both are physical, both play downhill. What I really like to watch him do is use his hands and that’s something I’m working to try and get better at.”
Over the last 24 hours, Austin and his mother spent plenty of time with the coaches and learned a lot of Pitt football.
“Pitt coaches showed us great hospitality. The minute I walked in the door Archie Collins was there in the lobby with the defensive coordinator and we all went upstairs and talked for a while.”
From there, his day consisted of touring Pitt’s football facility, the weight room, the outdoor practice fields, got introduced to Pitt’s relationship with the Steelers and then Austin attended the basketball game with the Pitt coaches. Thursday, the Austins toured the entire Pitt campus and learned about the schools academic programs.
The good news for Pitt is that Austin saw enough to keep them as a school he’s going to seriously consider.
”Pitt is a school I’m really going to consider. I told my mom after that I liked it and I’ll be going back soon,” said Austin.
Aside from Pitt, Austin said that he’s hearing the most from Michigan State, Purdue, Syracuse, Boston College and Washington State.
— BRYCE AUSTIN (@bryce9austin) October 24, 2018