Running late on this, I know.
The Pittsburgh senior defensive tackle won the Bronko Nagurski award given to the nation’s top college defensive player.
The 6-foot, 285-pound Donald was presented the award at a ceremony Monday night in Charlotte.
The ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Donald averaged 2.2 tackles for loss per game while ranking 10th in forced fumbles and 13th in sacks per game.
He had 28½ sacks for his career with one game left to play.
“I’m just so excited,” Donald said. “I think it is a great way for my father to celebrate his birthday. And I think it’s huge for the University of Pittsburgh. There were so many people wishing me well.”
Tonight is the presentation for the Lombardi Award — best lineman or linebacker. On Thursday night, it’s the ESPN-centric extravaganza of college sports awards where Donald is up for the Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year) and the Outland Trophy (best offensive or defensive interior lineman).
Pitt hasn’t had a defensive player win national awards since Hugh Green in 1980 swept the Lombardi, Walter Camp and Maxwell awards.
As Donald walked up to collect the award, his mother stood, cheered and shouted, “Hail to Pitt!”
When his parents joined him on stage, before he was mobbed by TV cameras and photographers, Donald and his father shared a long embrace.
“I got my dad a nice birthday present today,” Donald said. “I’m truly humbled and truly blessed.”
Despite the chances at winning up to 4 national college awards, Donald was not even among the top-six vote recipients for the Heisman Trophy. So there is still room for outrage and claims of disrespect.