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Pitt’s Donald earns ACC Defensive Players of the Year honors
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has been named the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Player of the Year in a vote by the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Media Association (ACSMA). Winston becomes the first freshman in the ACC’s 61-year history to receive the award.
Winston, a native of Bessemer, Ala., was the choice of 47 of the 65 ACSMA members casting ballots. Boston College running back Andre Williams placed second with 13 votes. Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald was named on four ballots, while Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, the 2012 ACC Player of the Year, received one vote.
The Panthers’ Donald was voted the 2013 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, while Winston picked up the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award in addition to his overall honor.
Winston becomes the sixth Seminole to be named the ACC Player of the Year and the first since Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke in 2000. Winston has fueled a high-scoring offense that helped Florida State post a 12-0 regular-season record and the top spot in the BCS standings heading into Saturday night’s ACC Championship game against Duke at Charlotte, N.C.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Winston ranks first nationally in passing efficiency (192.6) while leading the ACC in passing yardage (3,490) and touchdown passes (35). Under Winston’s direction, the Seminoles rank second nationally in scoring (53.7 points per game) and seventh in total offense (526.1 yards per game).
Winston’s 3,490 passing yards are an ACC rookie record, and his 35 touchdown passes are one shy of the conference single-season mark. He threw for 1,162 yards and nine touchdowns in three wins over ranked opponents, and was named the ACC Rookie of the Week seven times and the ACC Offensive Back of the Week on three occasions.
In addition to earning the 2013 ACC Rookie of the Year award and first-team All-ACC honors from ACSMA, Winston has been named a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Manning Award and the Davey O’Brien Award. He earned six National Player of the Week awards over the course of the season.
Pitt’s Donald also earned national attention with his defensive play throughout the Panthers’ inaugural ACC season and has been named a finalist for the Outland Trophy, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Rotary Lombardi Award.
A hometown product of Pittsburgh, Pa., the 6-foot, 285-pound Donald leads the nation with 26.5 tackles for lost yardage (2.2 per game). The senior has forced four fumbles while registering 10 quarterback sacks. Donald has 54 total tackles in addition to 16 quarterback hurries, two pass break-ups and a blocked extra point that proved the difference in Pitt’s one-point ACC win over Syracuse on Nov. 23. His tackles behind the line of scrimmage have resulted in total losses of 130 yards.
Donald earned first-team All-ACC honors from ACSMA earlier this week, received five National Defensive Player of the Week awards, and was twice named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week. With 28.5 career sacks, he is tied for second among active NCAA FBS players.
Florida State’s Winston received 44 votes for ACC Offensive Player of the Year, while Boston College’s Williams received 19 and Clemson’s Boyd the remaining two. Donald led the ACC Defensive Player of the Year balloting with 44 votes. Wake Forest lineman Nikita Whitlock followed with 10, and Florida State cornerback Lamarcus Joyner placed third with eight votes. Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis received two votes, and Florida State safety Terrence Brooks one.