From humble beginnings, Aaron Donald’s success is unexpected in Penn Hills – CBS Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Penn Hills native Aaron Donald has established himself as one of the best defensive players in the world, and anyone who played with him in high school should not be surprised.

“We saw it on day one,” said former Penn Hills and Pitt teammate Dan Mason. “When he was sophomore year, he went there with Coach Gibbs, who came back after the individuals and said, ‘Hey, we have a batting,’ and we threw him in. right in the game. It was instant. ”

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“It’s certainly not shocking,” said former Penn Hills teammate Teddy Blakeman. “Considering how good a player he is, how different he is, it’s not too surprising where he is in his career.”

In his time with red and yellow, Donald was a game wrecker.

Ron Graham, Donald’s head coach at Penn Hills, said: “From the start, he had the mentality that I wouldn’t want to be blocked or stayed. “He’s really a quiet leader and really good on the pitch.”

“When a play needs to be done on the field, he’s 14 or 15 years old and he’s doing those plays,” Blakeman said.

Even with that obvious ability in high school, Donald wasn’t highly employed. In fact, the University of Pittsburgh was his only major university.

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“There’s been a shift from big defensive players who really just eat space to guys with speed and agility with power,” says Graham. “He’s rewritten books about that because he’s quick, he’s agile, and he’s strong.”

Despite being one of the best players of the most popular sport in the world, Donald is steadfast and has not forgotten his hometown. And the folks at Penn Hills noticed.

“He was always humble,” Graham said. “He was always humble. He comes and camped his youth here and he really interacts with the kids and the family. “

“That’s one thing about him, he’s always come down to Earth,” Mason said. “I text him on the same number he always has and he always comes back to you. He’s a real stand-up guy. ”

That attitude means a lot to the folks at Penn Hills, and they can’t wait to see him on the biggest stage in the world on Sunday night.

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Mason said: “It’s amazing, and I’m almost vicariously living off of him. “I played with him here and at Pitt and he was always a dog, someone who always went out and made war with you. Just seeing a guy like that, earning it and doing it the right way, I couldn’t be more proud of him.” From humble beginnings, Aaron Donald’s success is unexpected in Penn Hills – CBS Pittsburgh


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