Defensive tackle Aaron Donald highlighted six Pitt players honored by the ACC when it announced its all-conference teams Monday.
Donald made the first team, freshman receiver Tyler Boyd made the second team and receiver Devin Street was named to the third team. Safeties Ray Vinopal and Jason Hendricks, as well as right guard Matt Rotheram, earned honorable mentions.
Donald was the only Panther named to the All-ACC first team. His 171 points in voting were the second most of any defensive player, trailing only Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner.
A Penn Hills graduate, Donald led Division I-A with 26.5 tackles for loss on the season to go along with 10 sacks. He also figures to be a leading candidate for the league’s defensive player of the year, which will be announced today.
“A lot of [Donald’s] statistics, I think, have come — every play is important — but have come at key moments, too, and I think that’s the mark of a great one,” coach Paul Chryst said last week.
“That’s what I’ve liked about the accolades that he’s gotten to this point. I think they’re truly deserved and they’re through production on the field.”
Boyd, a Clairton graduate, set the Pitt record for most receptions in a season by a freshman with 77 catches for 1,001 yards. He was one of just three freshmen to make the All-ACC first or second team.
Boyd’s receiving partner, Street, became Pitt’s all-time leading receiver this season and is the first Panther to have more than 200 career catches. He had 51 catches for 854 yards and seven touchdowns this year. He missed most of the past two games with an elbow injury.
The duo is the only ACC receiving tandem to rank in the league’s top five in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.
As for the honorable mentions, Hendricks and Vinopal anchored a pass defense that ranked 29th in Division I-A in passing yards allowed per game. Vinopal had two big interceptions to key the upset win Nov. 9 against Notre Dame.
Rotheram has been the Panthers’ most consistent lineman this year, starting every game at right guard.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG First Published December 2, 2013 3:35 PM