Posted: 9:01 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014
Athlon put out another one of their BCS era lists and Pitt's Aaron Donald made the cut as the No. 3 ACC defensive lineman. At first, that might even seem a little low given Donald's huge season and the rest of his career. But if you read their breakdown of him, it seems as if they only took his final year in consideration:
3. Aaron Donald, Pitt (2010-13)
Donald only played one season in the ACC but it was one of the, if not the, best by an ACC defensive lineman in league history. He swept the national awards by claiming the Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi and Bednarik as essentially the most decorated defensive player of the BCS Era not named Manti Te’o. He won ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors after posting 59 tackles, 28.5 for a loss and 11.0 sacks from his defensive tackle position. His 28.5 TFLs were second only to Keith Adams’ ACC record 33 in 1999. His career 29.5 sacks would be eighth in ACC history and his 66.0 tackles for a loss would be a new career ACC record had he played his entire career in the league.
Peppers was such a beast, though, and picking No. 1 between those two would be a difficult task if you factored in Donald's lifetime stats. Donald topped him tackles for loss, but Peppers had one more sack, despite playing only three seasons. He also played on the end, though, and the higher sack total was to be expected.
If you took both of their entire careers, really, really difficult to make a clear distinction.