A Clean Sweep

Aaron Donald certainly had some tough competition in competing for the Outland Trophy, with Texas A&M's Jake Mathews and Baylor's Cyril Richardson. A defensive player, he beat out both offensive linemen. As if that wasn't enough he also took home the Bednarik Award, given to the nations's top defensive player. For the Bednarik, Donald edged UCLA's Anthony Barr and Alabama's C.J. Mosley.

For those keeping score:

2013 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, in both the media and the coaches votes

A first-team All-ACC selection, despite not being voted on the first- or second-team in the preseason poll.

Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation's most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America.

Rotary Lombardi Award presented to the nation's top defensive lineman or linebacker, presented by the Rotary Club of Houston.

Any one of those individual awards would be remarkable for any player.

Then came Thursday night, when Aaron Donald took home not only the Outland Trophy, but also the Chuck Bednarik Award.

"I am just overwhelmed with all the wonderful honors from this week," said Donald. "It really makes you speechless. I want to thank everyone who found me worthy of this recognition. This isn't about me – it is about Pitt and my coaches and teammates. I'm appreciative of all of them."

Donald also earned a spot on the Walter Camp All-America team. He's the first Pitt player on that list since Jabaal Sheard (who previously wore No. 97) in 2010, the fourth player to earn that honor in the last six years.

The Outland Trophy is awarded to the nation's top offensive or defensive lineman. The only semifinalist, out of six players, on the defensive side of the ball, Donald won the award over Texas A&M's Jake Matthews and Baylor's Cyril Richardson.

Selected as the nation's top overall defensive player for the Bednarik Award, he beat out UCLA's Anthony Barr and Alabama's C.J. Mosley.

All this for a guy who finished with 26.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, for a 6-6 Pitt team this year.

"It is surreal," head coach Paul Chryst said of Donald's achievements. "What a great honor. To have it play out like this and be able to share it with his mom and dad is special."

Donald also received some praise from a fellow highly decorated ACC player, in Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.

"The guy's a manimal," Joyner said. "Half man, half animal. He's a guy where there's no suspense on who's going to win."

Even more unique, the fact that it's the first time a Pitt player claimed either the Lombardi Award or the Outland Trophy. A Pitt player claimed those awards in the same year. Unlike Donald winning both, it took Hugh Green (Lombardi) and Mark May (Outland) to win those awards. Both of those players have their Pitt jerseys retired, and both are enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame. They also played on a 1980 Pitt team that went 11-1, defeating South Carolina 37-9 in the 1980 Gator Bowl.

Green finished second in the Heisman voting that year to South Carolina running back George Rogers. Donald certainly earned enough hardware this year, but unlike Green, want even invited to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Donald was the second player to verbally commit to Pitt's 2010 recruiting class. He committed in April of 2009, and only had offers from Rutgers and Toledo at that point. He finished his high school career ranked as a four-star prospect, the No. 25 defensive tackle in the Class of 2010.

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