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Aaron Donald named finalist for Rotary Lombardi Award

Aaron Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss.

Aaron Donald leads the nation in tackles for loss.

Nov. 21, 2013

   PITTSBURGH—For the second time today, Pitt senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been named a finalist for a prestigious national award.

   The Rotary Club of Houston announced this afternoon that Donald is one of four finalists for the 2013 Rotary Lombardi Award. The other finalists are UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

   Eligibility for the Rotary Lombardi Award is limited to down linemen, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, who set up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball, or linebackers who set up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage.

   The finalists will travel to Texas for the Rotary Lombardi Award Presentation on Dec. 11 at the Wortham Center in downtown Houston, where the 2013 winner will be announced. This year’s Rotary Lombardi Award ceremony will be a live national telecast on the CBS Sports Network and hosted by Spencer Tillman.

   Only three other Pitt players have been selected as Rotary Lombardi Award finalists: defensive end Hugh Green (1979 and 1980), offensive tackle Bill Fralic (1983 and 1984) and nose tackle Al Romano (1976). Green is Pitt’s lone winner of the Rotary Lombardi Award, receiving the honor following his senior season in 1980.                                                                                                                              

   Earlier today, Donald was named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, annually presented to the nation’s most outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club. He is one of five finalists for that award with the winner announced on Dec. 9.

   Donald is also a strong candidate for the Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, which both honor the country’s top defensive player, and the Outland Trophy, which goes to the nation’s best offensive or defensive interior lineman.

   Compared this week to Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl tackle Geno Atkins, Donald is arguably the most disruptive defensive lineman in the college game. Donald leads the country in tackles for loss with 2.3 per contest. No other player is averaging more than 1.8 TFLs per game. He also ranks sixth in sacks (1.0 per game) and eighth in forced fumbles (0.40 per game).

   Donald is the only defensive tackle ranked in the top 10 nationally in sacks. He is the overall FBS active career leader with 28.5 sacks. 

   Donald’s senior year production compares remarkably with former Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who swept the Lombardi, Bronko Nagurski, Outland and Bednarik awards in 2009 and was also a Heisman Trophy finalist.

   Through 10 games, Donald has 22.5 TFLs and 10 sacks. Suh had 20.5 TFLs and 12 sacks for the entire season (14 games).

—PITT—