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May 18, 2010

Getting to know: Aaron Donald

Pitt's 2010 signees are a month away from getting on campus this summer, but before they step on the field, PantherLair.com is taking a closer look at each of the incoming freshmen. You probably already know what position each recruit plays and how tall he is; now we're looking at the young man and what he'll bring to the University of Pittsburgh, not just the football team.

Today Pantherlair.com takes a look at Aaron Donald.

Aaron Donald Profile
Name: Aaron Donald
Rating:
Position: Defensive tackle
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 270
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
High school: Penn Hills
Getting to know: Aaron Donald
Described as "one of the most dominating defensive linemen in WPIAL Class AAAA in recent years"...selected first team All-State Class AAAA by the Pennsylvania Sports Writers each of his final two seasons...Pennsylvania Football News All-Class AAAA ...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette WPIAL Class AAAA Player of the Year...Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fabulous 22"...Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25"...All-Big East Conference...compiled 63 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and 11 sacks as a senior...also started at offensive guard...a three-year starter overall at Penn Hills...the Indians advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs each of Donald's three years as a starter...selected to play in the prestigious Big 33 Football Classic...rated Pennsylvania's No. 14 by Rivals

What was the most memorable moment of your high school career?
I just liked everything, the whole environment of high school. It was just a fun time for me, and just a good environment all around.

What college or NFL player do you try to model your game after?
I just try to go out there and play, but take different things from all types of different players. I like Ray Lewis, his attitude and how hard he plays. I try to take good qualities from a lot of players from a lot of different positions and put them together. I want to be good all-around good, so I try to put all the different qualities into one.

Who has helped you the most in your development as a football player?
My family helped a lot. My brother has taught me stuff through the years. [Penn Hills defensive line] coach, Damon Gibson taught me how to be explosive, and I've learned different moves. He used to play football at Pitt, so he taught me what I need to know.

What was the biggest reason you picked Pitt?
I felt like out of all schools I looked at that Pitt fit me best. I felt like I'd be really comfortable there. It felt similar to Penn Hills, like the same environment from my high school, and it was the best fit for me.

What are you looking forward to the most about being at Pitt?
I'm looking forward to going down there and becoming a much better football player. I want to improve in everything.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to relax. I enjoy my time when I have it. I'm always working out for football or doing school work or something, so I like to relax in my down time.

What do you see yourself doing after Pitt?
Hopefully, if everything goes right and I do what I need to do, I want to be in the NFL. That's my dream. Pitt has good coaches that came from the NFL to help get me to next level. It's like a family down there, and I know I'll learn a lot.

What are you planning to major in at Pitt?
I'm not completely sure yet, but I'm leaning more towards business. Everything in life comes back to business, so might as learn about it.

What are the biggest things you need to work on at Pitt?
I need to work on a couple more moves. I'm definitely going to get bigger, work on my quickness, speed and strength. I always have that attitude that I want to improve all the time. If I make five sacks in a game, then I want to make ten sacks next game. There's always room for improvement

What are some of your goals for your time at Pitt?
I want to go down there and try to get on that field. I want get this team to another bowl game, and maybe put a few rings on my fingers, a few championships.

What would you like Pitt fans to know about you as a player and a person?
I'm a hard-worker, tough football player. I'm somebody that will come down there and make a difference. I committed to Pitt to go down there and show them what I can do.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?
I'm a great ping pong player. I grew up playing it a lot and got really good at I as got older. I beat everybody in gym class, and they all wonder how I know how to play. I just tell them that I practice a lot.

Note: Bio info courtesy of University of Pittsburgh Sports Information Department


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