Pitt's Aaron Donald named winner of Lombardi Award

Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports
Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald has a nation-leading 26.5 tackles for loss.

Pittsburgh senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald won the Lombardi Award, given annually to the nation's top lineman or linebacker.

Donald (6-foot, 285 pounds) leads the nation with 26.5 tackles for a loss, and he earlier won the Bronko Nagurski Award -- given to the nation's top defensive player -- and the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year award. He also is a finalist for the Outland Trophy and Bednarik Award; the winners will be announced Thursday night. The Outland goes to the best interior lineman and the Bednarik to the top defender.

The other finalists were UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley and Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

Donald was a worthy recipient. He should become the first interior lineman to lead the nation in tackles for loss since the stat was instituted in 2000. Donald also is tied for 13th nationally with 10 sacks; he has 28.5 career sacks, tied for second with Buffalo senior outside linebacker Khalil Mack among all active players.

Donald's final college game will come in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, against MAC champ Bowling Green. Donald's lack of height hurts his draft prospects, but his incredible production still should lead to him being selected in the early rounds.

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o won the Lombardi last season, and other past winners include Boston College's Luke Kuechly in 2011, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh in 2009, Arizona State's Terrell Suggs in 2001, Miami's Warren Sapp in 1994, Alabama's Cornelius Bennett in 1986 and Oklahoma's Lee Roy Selmon in 1975.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.