Four-star defensive lineman Elliot Donald (6-foot-3 inches, 255 pounds) verbally committed to Pitt in late July, becoming the second-highest ranked player to commit to the Panther football program in the Narduzzi era. The Pittsburgh Central Catholic product was prepared to dominate this season until he had a sudden change of heart.
“I chose to skip my senior season of football. First, the threat of COVID played into the decision. I didn’t want to infect my family or anyone older that may be around me,”said Donald. “Second, I’m ready to move onto college. I didn’t want to risk injury with the chance of the season being canceled after two of three games. I’m taking online classes right and now and getting ready for Pitt.”
Donald may not be suiting up on the football field, but he’s far from complacent. He has an extensive and diverse workout regime in place. “I’m working out about five to six times a week. I’m working with DeWayne Brown at least twice a week. DeWayne runs 2/10ths Speed and Agility Training. There are times I’ll work with him three days a week,” he said. “I’m lifting twice and a week and started working with Al ‘Poodie’ Carson. He’s teaching me Israeli Krav Maga techniques.”
Carson is the lead instructor and owner for the Israeli Krav Maga – Western Pennsylvania. He’s worked with Pitt defensive linemen Keyshon Camp and Rashad Weaver. Krav Maga is a military self-defense and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces.
“Poodie and I work of a bunch of football drills. He has his own gym. We do a whole bunch of drills then work on handwork. Once I’m done with all of that I go off and lift by myself.”
Donald chose the Panthers over a stellar offer sheet. He accumulated nearly 20 scholarship offers including Penn State, Michigan, LSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Elliot has generally been ranked one of the top five overall 2021 recruits from the state of Pennsylvania.
Donald’s is the nephew of Pitt-great and Los Angeles Ram Aaron Donald. Elliot shares a different physique than his stockier, thicker uncle. Standing nearly 6-foot-4 inches tall, he’s in the process of adding muscle to his frame. He’s very aware of the rigors of ACC play. “I don’t know how much I weigh now. I know when I was working out with my uncle, I got up to 258 pounds,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gained size and strength. I’m moving better as well. Adding size is great but you must be able to move. That’s my goal. I’m not exactly worried about how much I weigh when I get to Pitt. I know that if I do everything, I’m supposed to do in the weight room, size and strength will come with it.”
Donald was asked about his strengths on the football field. He replied, “I would say my top attribute is my motor and my love for the game. I’m passionate about the game of football. I say that all my teammates and coaches can tell you, I get emotional just going to practice. I can get really, loud. I’m always loud, energetic and enjoy cheering on my teammates. I’m a competitor. I never want to be out worked. I always went to be the best.”
Pitt football’s current recruiting class, the class of 2021, may be the best in the Narduzzi era. Donald was asked if he had designated future goals for himself. He humbly stated, “Man, I just want to play football. The game that I love. Everybody wants to win. You always want to win. I just want to go to Pitt and do what I’ve been doing. Whatever comes from that, the awards or accolades, comes from my hard work on and off the field. At the end of the day, I simply want to play the game that I love.”
Harry G. Psaros can be found on Twitter at @PittGuru