Central Catholic’s Elliot Donald, nephew of Aaron, says he’ll enroll at Pitt

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Friday, July 24, 2020 | 12:01 AM


Surprising no one, Central Catholic defensive tackle Elliot Donald announced Friday he will enroll at Pitt next year, joining a program where his uncle Aaron was one of the most celebrated players in school history.

Donald (6-foot-3, 255 pounds) is the fifth-ranked prospect in the state, according to Rivals.com. Among WPIAL players, he is No. 2 behind Gateway linebacker Derrick Davis, who has not announced his college choice.

Nationally, Donald is the seventh-ranked defensive tackle and No. 82 overall.

Donald joins West Mifflin defensive end Nahki Johnson, the No. 7 prospect in the state, as the Panthers’ only four-star recruits in the Class of ’21. Getting the fifth- and seventh-ranked seniors nonetheless represents one of Pitt’s most impressive in-state recruiting hauls in many years.

Donald is the fifth member of Rivals’ Pennsylvania top five to commit or sign with coach Pat Narduzzi since 2015, following Jordan Whitehead, Damar Hamlin, Paris Ford and Dayon Hayes.

Central Catholic coach Terry Totten said Donald’s physicality and ability to use his hands enable him to dominate opponents on the line.

“He always draws double teams,” Totten said. “They have to know where he is.”

Central’s coaching staff uses him at defensive tackle and end, and Totten said he projects to either position at the next level.

He also has been used on the offensive line and at tight end. Donald can catch, but not by design. “He’s there to knock somebody back,” his coach said.

Donald’s commitment gives Pitt 18 verbal pledges — a significant number five months before signing day — and moves the Panthers’ class to No. 25 in the nation, sixth in the ACC. They are hoping to sign 25 players.

Donald has scholarship offers from 18 schools, including national champion LSU and Wisconsin. The Badgers are recruiting Donald with Inoke Breckterfield, who was his uncle’s defensive line coach at Pitt.

He also has offers from Penn State, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Michigan.

Donald’s uncle Aaron was an All-American at Pitt, winning college football’s most prestigious defensive awards — the Bednarik, Lombardi, Nagurski and Outland — in 2013. A Penn Hills graduate, he was a first-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 2014 and has twice been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Two years ago, he made a million-dollar donation to the Pitt Football Championship Fund, the largest gift by a football letterman. The ground floor of Pitt’s Duratz Athletic Complex practice facility on the South Side has been renamed the Aaron Donald Football Performance Center.

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