2014 Senior Bowl Interview: Aaron Donald
Aaron Donald DT (Pitt)
Hand: 9 7/8”
Arm: 31 3/4”
Winner of the Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Lombardi Award (best lineman), Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and Nagurski Award (best defensive player), unanimous All-American, ACC Defensive Player of Year, first team All-ACC after leading the nation with 26.5 tackles for lost yardage (2.2 per game). Forced four fumbles while registering 10 quarterback sacks. Donald had 54 total tackles in addition to 16 quarterback hurries and two pass break-ups.
On what it means to him to be part of the Senior Bowl
It’s an honor to be here with some of the best in college football. We’re all finishing up our last true college game. It’s an honor and it’s been a true blessing.
On what it will mean for him to put on that Pitt helmet one last time
It will mean a lot. I got an opportunity to build and become a young man coming out of Pittsburgh and out of Pitt. It’s going to be a good feeling. I’m going to miss it, but at the end of the day hopefully, God willing, a lot of good things will be coming in the future.
On the effect that all the change and turnover at Pitt during his time there may have had on his development as a player
I had the opportunity to be coached by three different coaches. I got that knowledge from different coaches. I’m used to change. I’m able to move from a 3-man front to a 4-3. So I got the experience that I need and I think it helped me at the end of the day.
On what he thinks are the two biggest strengths that he will bring to an NFL team
I can stop the run and I can rush from the inside as a pass rusher. I think that’s a plus to be able to stop the run and to get to the quarterback.
On what the one thing he wants to show to NFL scouts that they might not know about him
I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and that’s playing the game of football and showing them what I can do. Competing. That’s what it’s about. Going out there and competing. Not just competing being all serious – you gotta have fun. We’re all here and it’s an honor and a blessing so we just got to enjoy it and take it all in.
On what it means to possibly be that next Pitt guy to excel in the NFL and whether he feels added pressure to do that
It’s not (added pressure). Like I said, it’s an honor. Just that opportunity to have a chance to be in the NFL because there ain’t any promises, ain’t any guarantees. I still gotta get there first. But to know that I’m a part of history at Pitt, that I’m going to be there with some of the greats, next to the Hugh Greens, the Mark Mays, it’s a blessing and an honor to just to become a part of that history – that I’m always going to be that Pitt guy. I’m always going to be a big Pitt fan.
On whether he’s talked to any Pitt players now in the NFL and gotten any good advice from them
Jabaal Sheard texted me and just let me know if I needed anything or needed to talk to him about the process that I’m about to go through that he’s there for me. So that was good to hear.
On what the best piece of advice the Pitt staff gave to him as he was getting into this process
Play the game and have fun. The game of football is a game, and it’s supposed to be fun. Even though it’s a business, it’s supposed to be fun. You gotta love what you are doing. I love the game of football. I love going out there to compete. I love having fun.