Aaron Donald wins Bronko Nagurski Trophy

By Nate Barnes | Sports Editor

At a ceremony held in Charlotte, N.C., Monday night, Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the 2013 Bronko Nagurski Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to college football’s best defensive player as voted by the Football Writers Association of America. 

“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.”

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The 6-foot, 285-pound senior lineman from nearby Penn Hills, Pa., earned the award after led the nation with 2.2 tackles for loss per game. Overall, Donald recorded 26.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 54 tackles, and forced four fumbles. 

With 28 career sacks, Donald ranks as the career sack leader among all active defensive linemen.

“Aaron Donald has played at a high level this entire season,” Pitt head coach Paul Chryst said. “He is a very deserving recipient of this honor and our entire program is extremely proud of him.”

Donald is the first Pitt player to win a major national award since Larry Fitzgerald won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver in 2003. Donald was also voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last week. 

“This is an incredible honor and I could not be more appreciative,” Donald said. “On behalf of my coaches, teammates and family, I want to thank the Charlotte Touchdown Club and Football Writers for selecting me the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.”

Donald has a chance to add to his hardware haul later this week, as he travels to Houston, Texas, Wednesday for the presentation of Rotary Lombardi Award. Thursday, Donald will be at the Dance Hall on the Disney Boardwalk in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where the winners of the Bednarik Award and Outland Trophy will be announced. 

The Lombardi Award is given to the nation’s top defensive lineman or linebacker, Bednarik to the collegiate defensive player of the year, and Outland to the best interior offensive or defensive lineman.