OAKLAND--After Pitt upset Notre Dame at Heinz Field on a Saturday night primetime slot in 2013, Irish head coach Brian Kelly raved about a player who would become the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year and a regular Pro Bowler.
"Aaron Donald has been a one-man wrecking crew," Kelly said that night.
Three years later, Pitt has itself another one-man wrecking crew in the making.
Ejuan Price has matched Donald's production through four games in 2013. This is noteworthy not just from a team standpoint, but because Donald’s production that year earned him the Lombardi Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award and Outland Trophy in addition to unanimous first-team All-America honors and the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Perhaps Pitt is looking at its second great defensive lineman graduate in the past four years.
“[Ejuan is] a great player, he’s a great athlete,” Pitt linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu said. “That’s somebody I look up to a lot. He’s just a great athlete. [Aaron Donald] is someone I would compare Ejuan to.”
|Through four games||Tackles||Sacks||Quarterback hurries||Forced fumbles||Tackles for loss||Plays with girdle|
|Aaron Donald (2013)||13||6||5||1||9||Yes|
|Ejuan Price (2016)||13||5.5||7||3||2.4||No|
Price is second nationally in forced fumbles (.75 per game), second nationally in sacks (5.5 sacks, 1.38 per game) and is second nationally in tackles for loss per game with 2.4 (10 total). Additionally, Price has seven quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and 13 combined tackles.
Donald had six sacks after week four in 2013, 13 combined tackles through four games, nine tackles for loss for 58 yards through four games, five quarterback hurries through four games, one forced fumble through four games.
Granted, Donald was a defensive tackle and Price is an end, so the two are responsible for different roles. But their levels of production are, overall, pretty comparable.
Let Price's hardware campaign begin.null