Pitt defensive lineman Aaron Donald ESPN's No. 2 player in the ACC

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

When Pitt and Florida State went head to head in the ACC opener, few probably realized that it would also be a matchup of the conference's two best players. But after the seasons put together by Jameis Winston and Aaron Donald, that's exactly what it was.

Winston went on to win the Heisman and Donald went on to win ... practically everything else. ESPN.com is wrapping up their list of Top 25 ACC players and it's no surprise that Donald was named No. 2:

Making the case for Donald: He should have been a Heisman Trophy finalist -- it was about the only award Donald missed out on. Donald, who became one of the most decorated defenders in school history, was selected the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. He was literally unblockable for the majority of the season, regardless of scheme.

It's pretty insane to think that Donald wasn't No. 1, but that's what happens when a freshman quarterback playing in the same conference leads his team to an undefeated year and wins college football's biggest award. As much as Donald was deserving of being called the best in the ACC, Winston just did that much more and it's virtually impossible to make a case against him.

Another guy bit from Winston's presence was freshman wideout Tyler Boyd, who checked in at No. 23. Boyd would almost assuredly have won the conference Rookie of the Year honor had it not been for the Florida State quarterback.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley

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