Aaron Donald’s awards week tour may be over, but the honors keep rolling in for Pitt’s defensive tackle.
Donald was named an Associated Press first-team All-American Tuesday, the third major All-American team he has made this year. He previously was named to the Sporting News and Walter Camp All-American teams.
If Donald makes the Football Writers Association of America and the American Football Coaches Association All-American teams — released later this week — he will become Pitt’s first unanimous All-American selection since wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald in 2003.
The previous Pitt defender to be named a unanimous All-American was Hugh Green in 1980.
“There’s other great players out there, but he earned all the accolades on the field,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said last week. “And I think he earned it before then with the way he works and competes and prepares.”
Donald led all of Division I-A with 26.5 tackles for loss this season, including 10 sacks. He wrapped up his stellar campaign by taking home four major individual trophies last week: The Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), the Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker), the Outland Trophy (best offensive or defensive lineman) and the Bednarik Award (best defensive player).
“He expects to be able to make an impact,” Chryst said. “What’s rewarding as a coach is to see someone do that and then actually be able to deliver it. … It’s been pretty cool.”
Donald was one of six Atlantic Coast Conference players to make the AP first team. No. 1 Florida State, set to play Auburn for the BCS national championship next month, led with four players: quarterback Jameis Winston, center Bryan Stork, cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and kicker Robert Aguayo.
The Seminoles’ opponent in the title game, Auburn, did not have any players on the first team, but running back Tre Mason made the second team.
All six Heisman Trophy finalists made either the first, second or third team. Winston, Boston College running back Andre Williams and Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch were on the first team, with Lynch making it as an all-purpose player. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel headlined the second team along with Mason, and Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron made the third team.
Penn State had two players on the third team in offensive guard John Urschel and wide receiver Allen Robinson.
Robinson led the Nittany Lions this year with 97 catches for 1,432 yards and six touchdowns. Urschel has made back-to-back all-Big Ten teams and won this year’s William V. Campbell Trophy as college football’s top student-athlete. He earned his undergraduate degree in three years and already has his masters in mathematics.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG