ACC’s Top 25 Players of 2011: No. 22, Aaron Donald

Pitt's Aaron Donald is Number 22 On Our Countdown of the ACC's Top 25 Players

To recap the 2011 season of ACC football, we’ll be ranking the top 25 players in the conference this year, starting at 25, and heading all the way to the number-one slot. While these rankings can surely be debated, it’s still entertaining to assemble them. And on we go…

No. 22: Aaron Donald, DT/Pittsburgh Panthers

Just a sophomore coming off a relatively quiet two-sack 2010 season, Aaron Donald was not supposed to make waves this year. Yet, looking back at (current and future) ACC teams’ collections of players, there were pass-rushers that made the type of impact Donald did. Recording 10 sacks over just 11 games, while also defending four passes, he became a frightening sight for opposing offenses. Of his 42 tackles on the season, 12 were recorded for a loss of yardage. During one stretch of five games, Donald recorded eight sacks — including a three-sack effort versus Utah. Even as double-teams started to increase, he still saw success, notching four or more stops in each of his final four games. Even with a target on his back next season, he’s still poised to lead a Pitt defense looking to rebound from a lackluster 2011.

Previously:

#23, Sean Renfree

#24, Julian Burnett

#25, Terrell Manning

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