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December 13, 2013

Congrats Donald

Filed under: Football,Honors,Players — Chas @ 8:18 am

All The Awards

Amazing.

Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even on the pre-season All-ACC team. Who should totally be crashing the Heisman Ceremony on Saturday as a special correspondent for ESPN just to create tremendous awkward comedy.

But, no. Aaron Donald has something else on his mind for the weekend.

Just like Donald has been all season and how he plans to be starting Friday when Pitt will begin preparing for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 against Bowling Green.

“I’m real excited to get back in that film room and start studying Bowling Green and get ready to play another game,” Donald said. “Even though it’s cold (in Pittsburgh), I’m missing it.”

The week-long awards sweep even got Coach Paul Chryst to break out his highest praise.

“It wasn’t just one flash,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. “He kept producing and word got out and I think he did it in big moments.

“I thought it was really neat to see the people really took note of what he did on the field. I thought he earned it the old fashioned way or the right way by what he did on the field.”

When Coach Chryst breaks out the “neat,” you know it’s something special.





Congrats to AD! I wish him all the best in the future.

Now I will tell what isn’t neat. A recruiting class ranked in the high 30s and low 40s. That isn’t neat at all. Let us all hope that PC and company can finish strong with this class.

Comment by Pitt Flunky 12.13.13 @ 8:34 am

I think I understand the nature and intent of the comment coming from Henry’s mom about the defense. But doesn’t it look foolish whenever you have a Pitt D player winning every major award that he could possibly win minus the Heisman?? AD is awesome and they should retire his number.

Comment by JJ 12.13.13 @ 8:37 am

@JJ

Maybe the ACC Network will hire Dravon’s mom to be a commentator during the broadcasts. She can’t be worse than the ones they have now.

Meanwhile, Aaron’s mom should be featured in every possible Pitt marketing program—yelling “Hail to Pitt” when Aaron received his awards.

H2P and H2AD

Comment by pmdH2P 12.13.13 @ 8:42 am

The DB from Michigan State was a 2 star. You guys and your damn star rating system.

Conner wasn’t recruited by anybody to be a RB and he turned out fine.

Pitt was a couple plays away from 8 and 4. Give Chryst some time.

I like how Donald said Chryst is building something special. Why would a Wannstedt recruit want to plug Chryst…. because Chryst is a good coach.

I’m still not enamored with the House hire, but maybe this one year will help him get the experience he needed.

Anyway… I predict a beatdown of Bowling Green. They beat a good MAC team in Northern Illinois… big friggin whoop. I bet you Savage and Donald have great nights. Remember we got our two Clairton boys back for the game.

H2P

Comment by Jimbo 12.13.13 @ 8:45 am

He is a testament to good parenting skills and excellent personal ambition. Great for him and for the University of Pittsburgh.

Comment by palm beach panther 12.13.13 @ 8:47 am

Here is my suggestion to Coach Chryst today when the team reassembles to begin preparations for their bowl game. Have all of Aaron’s trophies and awards lined up on a table in front of the team in their meeting room and ask them to commit, each and every player, 100% to sending the most decorated football player in the history of the University out on the appropriate positive note with a win in our bowl game. Now if that doesn’t serve as enough motivation to get this team up for the game, then nothing will.

I’ve read from some posters that Pitt should have declined their invitation to even play in a bowl game this year, what a LOSER’S attitude. What does Aaron say last night, that he was anxious to get back home and into the film room to begin preparing for his next game. That my friends is the correct attitude, the attitude of a champion.

It’s Coach Chryst’s job now to impress that same attitude on every player in that room, to instill in them that same dedication. Losing this one is NOT AN OPTION. Appreciate the GAME, respect the OPPONENT, then go out there the day after Christmas and pummel the Fighting Falcons into the turf for Aaron, probably the most elite football player that these guys will ever have the prevlege to call their teammate. Win this one for Aaron.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 8:58 am

Way to go Aaron Donald!!

It has been a pleasure watching him and I am proud that he is a PITT Panther. He has brought much needed positivity to the program. Best of all is how he has succeeded…hard work, determination and perseverance.

It is impressive to see AD selected for all these awards! Now let’s end the Donald era with a bowl game win. I look forward to the number retirement ceremony in a few years!!

Comment by Jason 12.13.13 @ 9:05 am

here is a better idea got to all the 4 star DT that are unsigned and recruit them now they will listen to you today.
and say come to pitt you could be next.

Comment by Frankcan 12.13.13 @ 9:23 am

Great job by AD! He deserves all of the awards he has won as well as an invite to NYC on Saturday! In one of his acceptance speeches last night (maybe Bednarik) he mentioned that he’s one of the best ping pong players in the Burgh. I think it was the closest I’ve ever seen him come to bragging.

Comment by CalvinHobbes 12.13.13 @ 9:23 am

What an immense accomplishment!

Not much more to say, few comments on Blather because there is no controversy, Donald is the best in the Country! The Outland Trophy Baby! Not since Mark May, not since Hugh Green have we had such a performance.

Neat suggestion Dr. Tom, we need to win this one for Aaron.

Chryst and House need to leverage this success to recruit some Aaron wannabes.

Let’s Go Pitt

Comment by gc 12.13.13 @ 9:32 am

Dr. Tom – I am fired up by your speach idea.

Comment by Pittastic 12.13.13 @ 9:34 am

Meant speech

Comment by Pittastic 12.13.13 @ 9:35 am

@@@@@@@

Amazing Aaron Donald an All-American, ACC Defensive player of the year, and four national awards! Aaron has proved anytthing is possible at Pitt. Let’s hope we finish 7-6.

Comment by JR 12.13.13 @ 9:36 am

Proud to be a Panther. This is why we are all so passionate about Pitt and Pitt sports on here. The tradition of excellence continues with a great young man.

Hail to Pitt today and always!

Comment by Pitt it IS 12.13.13 @ 9:37 am

What incredible news. This does not happen very often. I hope everyone appreciates what they watched this past year. I hope he goes out with a monster bowl game and is a number one pick.

Keep the negative posts off this thread, this is all about an unbelievably great story for the program and AD!

Comment by notrocketscience 12.13.13 @ 9:57 am

Another head on the Mount Rushmore of Pitt greats.

Comment by TX Panther 12.13.13 @ 10:10 am

inoke, not house or chryst

Comment by paul shannon 12.13.13 @ 10:21 am

It’s nice to see AD get national recognition. Here’s hoping he continues his excellent play at the NFL level. The Steelers could use AD. Hint… ;-)

Comment by MariettaMike 12.13.13 @ 10:35 am

It was great to watch Donald play. I hope to see another Pitt player come along like him. What a treat he is.

Comment by Frank MD 12.13.13 @ 10:40 am

Do you guys think he goes top 2/3 rounds in draft? I sure hope so. What’s he projected as of today?

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.13.13 @ 10:41 am

Dr Tom, FWIW, did a little research and you were right about Adam Bertke.

Broke a bone in his throwing hand on 10/14 but returned just in time for the state playoffs. Obviously didn’t seem to hinder his performance much.

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 10:47 am

Just read projections he will go 2nd or 3rd round due to being undersized as a NT. To bad they don’t measure heart and character more.

Comment by Upittbaseball 12.13.13 @ 10:47 am

Amazing. Congrats to AD – he deserves it all!

It’s unbelievable that a guy wins essentially ALL the national defensive awards he’s eligible for, but is not considred a serious candidate for the Heisman, or even invited to NY. I don’t know why the Heisman is still considered the award for the top player of the year, all it’s been as long as I can remember is the award for the best QB or RB on a top 10 team. It was a crime when Hugh Green didn’t win, but at least he was invited to the festivities. Heisman committe should be ashamed of themselves.

Comment by Steve S 12.13.13 @ 11:08 am

Way to go AD-YOur hardwork paid off!

Comment by Bruce F 12.13.13 @ 11:11 am

Thanks wbb, I’m correct for once. From some of the stuff that I’ve read online, this Bertke kid sure has a passionate following on some of the HS blog sites that were discussing honors selections in the all Ohio football team. If he is half as good as people profess that he is then we will have a stable of good QBs to be competing for the #1 spot behind center come this fall because the guy from Florida is no slouch either. What a nice problem to have!

And just because I enjoy saying it so much, Hail to Donald!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 11:21 am

Well stated Dr. Tom…I do like’s AD’s comment about HCPC building something special…the players get it!

Comment by markp 12.13.13 @ 11:41 am

the nfl draft site that i use has donald listed as the 5th best dt and has him as a second round pick
anound 43 or 44th player taken in the draft.

Comment by Frankcan 12.13.13 @ 11:46 am

Aaron Donald – first Panther to win four major awards in one season. Truly a great accomplishment for a humble, quiet, unheralded man. A credit to his family and the University.

It would be truly fitting if the team manned up to win his final game at Pitt.

All the best to you, Aaron.

H2P!!!

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.13.13 @ 12:03 pm

It would be very nice to see Donald, Street, Hendricks and Gordon to all make valuabe contributions to a bowl win. Also for Savage

What’s the story? Is the BG coach going to stay for the bowl

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 12:14 pm

I think we ought to share a little love with Inoke. We are pretty hard on the coaches around here. They need to share in the success and not just the blame.

I am sure Aaron learned a thing or two from his coach.

Comment by gc 12.13.13 @ 12:22 pm

Bruce Feldman ?@BFeldmanCBS 16h #Pitt’s Aaron Donald & #FSU’s Jameis Winston piling up awards. Who knew that Monday night opener would have more hardware than any other game?

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 12:48 pm

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 12:53 pm

correction: vote if you wish and if you are a member

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 12:54 pm

Congrats to Aaron, he serves himself, his parents, his university and his teammates well.

They should have pictures of him in the weight room, in the film room and a little #97 on every locker!

Wait, I thought we were a BBall school, or a Running Back factory? H 2 AD!

Thank You, Aaron!! (from another proud Pitt alumnus)

Comment by CompLit 12.13.13 @ 1:23 pm

Aaron Donald is a tail of the “2s”
*Two “A”s required to spell his name.
*Two star recruit.
*Too short.
*Too small.
*Too dedicated
*Too quick.
*Two guys required to block him.
*Too frickin AMAZING!!
*Too many post season accolades, just kidding.
*Too bad he’s a Senior.
*Two more years before his jersey # is retired.

When you have a spare 5 minutes, watch the video link below. Aaron Donald is just T O O much!

link to youtube.com

BTW, here is the list of guys that will be asked to fill those T W O very large shoes left in our defensive line by Aaron’s departure. Coach them up Chryst cause Mr. Donald is an extremely difficult act to follow, don’t you think?

Tyrique Jarrett 6-3/340lb RS FR
Jeremiah Taleni 6-2/300lb RS FR (our Hawaii connection)
Darrye Render 6-2/285 JR
K.K. Mosley-Smith 6-0/305lb RS JR (2nd chance kid)
LaQuentin Smith 6-2/275lb SR (we need you to step up next year)
Mike Herndon 6-4/323lb 2014 Recruit (Recruited as OT but might get moved to DL since he played both ways in HS)

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 1:38 pm

Rivals had him as a three star. Scout had him as a four. Dokish had him as number 5 in the state. But he definitely wasn’t heavily recruited due to his size. I’m afraid the draft will work against him as well. But we all know what he’s capable of doing. NFL teams will regret passing on him much like tOSU, Penn State and Notre Dame are today. Donald has intangibles one can’t easily measure. The results speak for themselves.

Comment by TX Panther 12.13.13 @ 1:58 pm

TX Panther, I seem to remember a pretty good quarterback that Pitt had about 30 years ago that kind of got neglected by the NFL draft too. Don Shula threw the kid a bone in a later round of the draft. If memory serves me right, there were quite a few NFL teams that ended up kicking themselves in the a$$ after the fact, regretting that they didn’t pick the kid up in an earlier round when they had the chance to. What was that QBs name???

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 2:11 pm

John Congemi?

Comment by wbb 12.13.13 @ 3:24 pm

@ wbb … lol

Comment by Snala The Panther 12.13.13 @ 3:27 pm

Snala, me thinks wbb is making a funny which warrents a lol, if not then the cap lock needs to be engaged for a LOL!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 4:19 pm

my NFL draft site has donald as the 41th best player whish is the top of second round.
devin street is listed as the 110th best which is top of fourth round.

Comment by Frankcan 12.13.13 @ 4:24 pm

DR Tom the reason they passed on that QB was a rumor that he smoked dope all the time a rumor put out bye maybe penn state but who knows who started it but most NFL teams belived it.

Comment by Frankcan 12.13.13 @ 4:37 pm

Yeah, that’s right Frankcan. Since he had an off Senior season, those rumors were flying around. Little did anyone know that a year later he would be concentrating on “smoking” every defensive secondary in the NFL while Shula stood on the sideline with a sly smile on his face thinking, “what a good coach am I”!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 4:46 pm

The rumor was coke, not weed. NFL teams were asking Covert if he was on coke too since he was Dan’s roommate.

Comment by Nick 12.13.13 @ 4:47 pm

Let’s hope no rumors surface on Donald. He is one class act. I’m proud to call him a Panther. Just goes to show what can be achieved when talent and hard work come together. Donald reached his potential. Maybe he can continue to raise his ceiling in the pros. His ‘small’ height doesn’t seem to impact his performance.

Comment by TX Panther 12.13.13 @ 4:48 pm

If Heisman voting were going on today… Donald would win it.

Comment by PittofDreams 12.13.13 @ 4:51 pm

I hope Pitt is renting plenty of billboard space with #97′s pic. Place them all over Pgh, especially near next year’s recruits.
Then place one in State College, just for grins.

Comment by gas 12.13.13 @ 5:35 pm

Congrats to A.D., great job and enjoy.

As for recruiting. I have my own system on recruiting. It’s called the Wins and Losses method. You can use it if you like, I have no patent on it.

Next year, is year three already.

Comment by Dan 12.13.13 @ 5:37 pm

Nothing like ping-pong to improve coordination. I’m serious.

Comment by 66Goat 12.13.13 @ 5:54 pm

So much for the Quips pipeline…

link to post-gazette.com

Comment by Jackagain 12.13.13 @ 5:55 pm

“Comment by Dr. Tom 12.13.13 @ 2:11 pm”

Sorry but actually DM was picked in the first round in ’83.
You are probably remembering that he was picked after several other QB’s in that first round. Without looking it up, who can name them all picked ahead of Dan?

Comment by TVax 12.13.13 @ 6:46 pm

I forgot Eason. Tried to forget Blackledge.

Comment by TVax 12.13.13 @ 6:57 pm

Great day to be a Panther! This is why we are truly a wonderful University and football program! Sometimes the wins don’t show it but when you can say that Pitt has such greats out there right now like Shady, Larry and Revis and now Donald! It’s unreal! No one will wear 97 again that’s for sure! AD is a humble and a great rep for Pitt! I wish him well!!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.13.13 @ 7:15 pm

Any word on Street? Just watching some highlights on the Pitt site, boy did we miss him down the stretch.

Hope he is able to play in Detroit.

Comment by gc 12.13.13 @ 8:20 pm

Just watched the college awards again, and I say it again, such a humble, respectful and dedicated player! Times like these make me so proud of our city and our university! Hail to Aaron Donald!

Comment by Sweet Caroline 12.13.13 @ 9:30 pm

Jackagain, wasn’t Fields a 2fer with Henry? That was the speculation, at least,

Comment by panther94 12.13.13 @ 9:36 pm

Seeing where Pitt is expected to get a verbal soon from James Folston, an OLB/S out of Florida. His brother, Tarean, is a RB for Notre Dame. Old man played in the NFL, I do believe.

Doesn’t have a lot of stars, if you’re into that kind of thing. I think it came down to Pitt and Minnesota. Had an offer from USF. Guess there was some interest from the B1G schools, but no offers other than Minnesota.

link to hudl.com

Comment by Mailman 12.13.13 @ 10:09 pm

The only bummer about all this is how little press he really got. Its not everyday a cfb playef wins these four awards, right,,? But no, it was all about winston. Like the press was chicken to lead with donald…even on espn who gave him two of those awards.

I went to all the major sports websites repeatedly thinking “donald is THE man but it was actually hard to find news about him.

Comment by DD 12.13.13 @ 10:31 pm

It hurts when Pittsburgh’s own newspapers don’t make a big deal of this. But they’d lead if a player got in trouble. Collier, Cook and Smizek are the worst.

Comment by TX Panther 12.13.13 @ 11:05 pm

You are right TX Panther. If a PSU player wins those awards, the Post Gazette guys write about it til Easter!!!

Comment by pittman4ever 12.13.13 @ 11:48 pm

If AD had an imaginary girlfriend he would have gotten the lead for all the awards.

Comment by Pitt Dad 12.14.13 @ 12:34 am

@ TVax right, Marino was a later first round pick, my bad. Hard to imagine the number of great QBs that came out of college in 1982. Without looking it up I could only recall Elway, the 1st pick overall in the draft and Tony Eason. For those who want to know, here’s the list up to Marino’s pick:
1-John Elway
7-Todd Blackledge
14-Jim Kelly
15-Tony Eason
24-Ken O’Brien
27-Dan Marino
The only guy who never really lived up to his potential in this group was Blackledge, IMO. The note I found interesting about Marino’s pick is that the Steelers passed on him in the first round at pick #21. Guess that was a lose-lose situation! I wonder if Danny would have been wearing a Super Bowl ring if the Steelers had picked him up rather than the Dolphins?

Back to the Panthers bowl game preps, I read that BGSU has finals all next week so they aren’t even really beginning their gameplan for the Pitt game until a week prior to the bowl. Considering the turmoil with the coaching staff moving on to Wake Forest and Dave Clawson confirmed NOT to be returning to coach the Fighting Falcons in that game, those factors have to be viewed as positive variables in Pitt’s favor.

House has taken a lot of grief about his first year’s performance as DC. I sure hope that he ends the season on an upnote with a solid defensive performance against Bowling Green. If we do shut Johnson and Co. down, it would be only fair to recognise that accomplishment since they have produced prolific stats in the MAC this season. My guess however, even if Pitt’s defense is successful, is that the rationalization from the naysayers will be, “yeah but it was only Bowling Green”, which would be unfair.

Getting that performance out of Pitt’s defense however will be the key to victory. I’m feeling our offense will be able to put up adequate numbers to win the game without major difficulty, especially with Orndoff and Street back, which should happen. but Pitt’s D has to shut down the Falcon’s O to win this game.

Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.14.13 @ 8:03 am

I think if there is a better D coordinator to be had like Orlando then Pitt at least should make an offer. House will still be learning on the job next year and based on what I’ve seen unless he changes his schemes we’ll get the same results. I understand some of it is not having the right players but much falls on him. One irrelevant game doesn’t make or break anyone. I would have been more encouraged if the D played well against good teams this year. Every good offense hung over 30 points on the D. I do believe BG will score points. Hopefully we keep them around 30 and we win 35-31.

Comment by TX Panther 12.14.13 @ 8:53 am

Dr Tom, Two dumbest things the Steelers ever did, not taking Marino, and taking Walter Abercrombie over Marcus Allen.

If they make those two picks they probably win three more super bowls.

I am still worried about Street, he was pretty banged up. He is the biggest difference maker after Donald. When he and our freshmen superman are on the field together they are twice as good.

Watched the Duke highlights again, best game of the season. The offense was amazing, Street and Boyd made multiple circus catches, great throws by Savage, bulldozer runs by Conner.

Even though the D gave up many points they only show the great Defensive plays of which there were quite a few, three interceptions and multiple sacks by Donald, great plays by Thomas.

And of course the Coup de grace, Savage to Weatherspoon.

Many were disappointed at the time, it was only Duke, but a huge victory against a very good team.

Comment by gc 12.14.13 @ 8:58 am

IDK how anyone can talk recruiting stars when the Three star linemen just ran a monopoly on the awards. There were two 4 star defensive linemen in AD’s class.

Comment by DCPinPGH 12.14.13 @ 9:06 am

Our bowl game IMO is not irreverent TXPanther. For this team at this point, at this time in the program a bowl win and a final 7-6 record is a big difference going forward, especially regarding final recruiting gets by LOI signing day. To discount this upcoming game as unimportant is an error that could have the team unprepared and flat for the bowl game and produce repercussions going forward into the off season.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.14.13 @ 9:48 am

Dr. Tom as a man of science I know you will appreciate this…Turns out Matt House isn’t as bad of a DC as we thought. (And believe me there were times this season when I thought he was pretty bad)

But…The Cardiac Hill Blog did some analysis and wouldn’t you know it…he basically held the ship steady.

For any that don’t agree…read on. You might be surprised.

link to cardiachill.com

Comment by Atlanta Panther 12.14.13 @ 10:16 am

Yep, ACC is an upgrade in competition for sure. Still think that one deficit with our D is a poor turnover ratio. Another “defensive” issue that really doesn’t show up in analysis like this are the big plays Pitt has given up on special teams, a glaring weakness that needs to be fixed.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.14.13 @ 10:57 am

Since we have run out of great things to say about Donald.

I went to the archives to review the comments during an after the FSU game.

Hind sight is 20/20, but some very funny things were said: “Don’t put them in the National Championship game yet”

Many were not astute enough to recognize the greatness of Winston, wanting so much to bash the Panthers. Well tonight he will win the Heisman.

They may not win the Championship (I think they will), they have not played as tough a schedule as Auburn. They haven’t even been tested.

I blasted Cook and Smizek for their comments, I still think they are ignorant jerks.

They were the only team that blew us off the field. They are the best team in the Country.

Reports are that Saban is getting 7+ million.

Comment by gc 12.14.13 @ 11:02 am

as stated before, with coaching turmoil at bgsu, there should be no excuse for hcpc not to have this team fired up and ready to play!

Comment by goalie44 12.14.13 @ 3:28 pm

@DCPinPGH, good point and true.

I’ll take 22 Aaron Donalds.

Problem is, most 2′s and 3′s don’t turn into Aaron Donalds.

Let’s not whistle through the graveyard when it comes to recruiting.

We have got to consistently have better and better recruiting classes if we’re ever gonna be a top 20 team.

Simple stuff really. The bigger, faster, stronger and quicker you are, the better your team is.

I often, actually always stipulate, when talking about the recruiting “stars”, that most of us know it’s a flawed system at times, many 5′s fail, and some 2′s succeed. No doubt about that.

It’s only a barometer. Couldn’t agree more.

There is definitely a place for non-highly recruited kids. Kids that make themselves into a power player. Kids that have heart, grit, determination. Certainly love to have those guys on my team.

Make no mistake though. Your team wins, when you have the better horses.

I’m no proponent of the “star” system or anything.

Like I said above, I have my own recruiting service.

Wins and losses.

Comment by Dan 12.14.13 @ 3:43 pm

@Dr. Tom, couldn’t agree more.

Very important game.

Just for me personally. Win and take care of business, I probably look forward to spring ball.

Get blown off the field, probably gonna pull out the S.O.P. crap. I won’t be alone.

Show me Panthers!! Show me you’re taking this game seriously. Show me you’re prepared. Show me you’re fired up. Show me you want to finish the season off right with a win.

Coaches, show me you’ve prepared the team for all of the above.

It’s all in front of you still.

I would love nothing more than to be shown these things!!!

I always have to laugh when some people come on and say Pitt fans are negative, or are negative on here.

I can tell you right now, what the comments are gonna be, right after the bowl game.

If Pitt wins, most will be talking about the spring, who’s qb next year, what’s recruiting look like etc. etc.

If they get beat, gonna be mostly negative.

It’s not that difficult to understand.

Comment by Dan 12.14.13 @ 3:51 pm

If the game means something then I expect you to be there.

Comment by TX Panther 12.14.13 @ 5:45 pm

TX Panther, you should know me better than that by now. I’m there for every Pitt Football game, if only in spirit.

Comment by Dr. Tom 12.14.13 @ 6:31 pm

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