partlycloudy
Thursday June 22nd, 2017 6:23PM

Donahue looks to shed small-school label, sack QBs with Jets

By The Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Dylan Donahue was as far away from a football field as he could imagine, working on an icy roof and wondering what had become of his NFL dreams.

Laying out quarterbacks had been replaced by him laying down shingles in the fall of 2012, when Donahue was helping with his father's roofing business in Billings, Montana.

After a redshirt season at the University of Montana Western, Donahue left school as poor grades and too much partying made playing football in college, let alone the pros, an unlikely scenario.

"The route I had to take caused me to never give up," Donahue said during the New York Jets' three-day rookie minicamp. "I could've given up at any point, just like the rest of my friends and my teammates that gave up at some point along the road.

"I just decided to keep going."

Nearly five years later, Donahue is a fifth-round draft pick out of Division-II West Georgia, a relentless outside linebacker/defensive end who's expected to help jumpstart the Jets' pass rush and be a key contributor on special teams as a rookie.

"It's been pretty incredible," Donahue said. "I honestly didn't expect to get drafted, coming from a small school. It's a blessing."

And quite the redemption tale.

The 24-year-old Donahue, whose father Mitch played four seasons in the NFL with San Francisco and Denver, got off the roof that chilly day and decided to take the advice of a friend: go back to school.

He ended up at Palomar College, a junior college in southern California, and rededicated himself to academics and athletics. Donahue had 19 sacks in two seasons there before heading to West Georgia.

Donahue thrived with the Wolves, piling up 25 1/2 sacks in two seasons and establishing himself as a legitimate pro prospect in the process. He went to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis and impressed scouts and coaches, including Jets outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.

"We talked for a long time," Donahue said of Greene. "I think after watching me do my drills and then watching a lot of tape, he liked me. So that's what made him stick out his neck a little bit for me."

Greene, a Hall of Famer who had 160 career sacks, and Donahue established a connection that carried through the draft.

"I just feel like me and coach Greene have something in common," Donahue said. "He had a high motor and that made a lot of success for him, and I think it's done something for me. I think he sees a little bit of himself in me."

Donahue said Greene was one of his father's favorite players, and the youngster certainly resembles Greene, with his long locks, scruffy facial hair and ultra-confident approach. They were both fifth-round draft picks, too, although Greene came out of football powerhouse Auburn.

The fact Donahue was a product of a Division II program had some wondering how his game would translate to the pros. At 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds — mirroring Greene's measurements during his playing days — Donahue's size wasn't off the charts. Scouting reports said he had short arms and smallish hands, all adding to the chip on his shoulder.

"Just coming from a small school and getting that label," Donahue said. "I feel like if I went to a D-I school, I would've been (drafted) in the first or second round. I have no doubt in my mind, actually, about that."

Donahue was then asked if the Jets got a steal in taking him.

"They did," he said. "No doubt."

While that remains to be seen, Donahue is already getting coached up by Greene, who chatted with him several times after drills during the team's practice Friday.

"I know coach Greene likes my pass rush," Donahue said, "but I'll do anything the coaches want me to do, as far as special teams and how I fit on the defense, so we'll just figure that out as we go along."

Donahue's father played against Greene a few times in the NFL and always told stories about him.

"Just how relentless his pursuit was to the quarterback and how he made quarterbacks hurt," Donahue recalled, "and they didn't like him on the field."

And that's exactly what Donahue is aiming to be.

But first the Montana native needs to tackle the one thing that has intimidated him since coming to the Jets: traffic in the metropolitan area.

"The way people drive around here is a little bit different from home," he said with a laugh. "Well, all the honking is like a second language, I feel like. It's like saying hello in New Jersey."

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Business, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Police officer free on bond in teen's suburban Dallas death
A white Texas police officer who fired into a car of teenagers leaving an unruly party, killing a black 15-year-old passenger, faces a murder charge
1:01PM ( 14 minutes ago )
For LeBron, another Cavs' sweep is within reach
No surprise: LeBron James and the Cavs have Toronto on the brink in their Eastern Conference semifinal series
12:53PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Kipchoge falls 26 seconds short of first sub 2-hour marathon
Eliud Kipchoge is 26 seconds short of running the first marathon in under two hours
12:50PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Penguins' Crosby passes concussion test, might play Game 5
Crosby passes concussion test and is game-time decision for Penguins in Game 5 against Capitals
12:39PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Nepal man, 85, dies trying to become oldest Everest climber
Officials say an 85-year-old Nepali has died while attempting to scale Mount Everest to regain his title as the oldest person to climb the world's highest peak.
11:36AM ( 1 hour ago )
Molinari leads by a shot at Wells Fargo; Johnson makes cut
Francesco Molinari leads by a shot at Wells Fargo in North Carolina; Dustin Johnson makes cut
11:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Records: Aaron Hernandez was member of Bloods street gang
New released documents say former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was a member of the Bloods street gang and was once disciplined for having gang paraphernalia in prison
6:47PM ( 18 hours ago )
Joe Paterno's son elected to Penn State's board of trustees
The son of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been elected to the university's board of trustees
6:15PM ( 19 hours ago )
Prison: Aaron Hernandez elated about acquittal, not suicidal
A Massachusetts prisons report says Aaron Hernandez was excited about his acquittal in a 2012 double slaying and did not appear to have thoughts of suicide in the days before he killed himself in his cell
3:02PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Football
The Latest: Bettors putting money on underdog Le Pen
V The betting firm Ladbrokes says far-right Marine Le Pen is attracting 90 percent of the bets on the eve of the French presidential election, as people gamble that France be in line for an upset.
10:59AM ( 2 hours ago )
French watchdog: Macron data mixed in with fake news in leak
France's election campaign commission says "a significant amount of data" from the campaign of centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has been leaked on social networks following a hacking attack
10:46AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: French watchdog: Some hacked Macron data is fake
Voting in the French presidential runoff has begun in France's overseas territories amid a nationwide blackout on campaigning and media coverage that could sway voters' views.
10:00AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Cagle promises 500,000 new jobs in Georgia governor campaign
Casey Cagle will launch his campaign for governor on Sunday with a pledge to add half a million new jobs in Georgia in four years if voters choose him to replace term-limited Gov. Nathan Deal.
12:11PM ( 6 days ago )
Senate confirms Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary
The Senate on Monday confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to be agriculture secretary in President Donald Trump's administration as the farming industry looks to Washington for help amid a downturn in the market.
8:55PM ( 1 week ago )
Former Gwinnett officer seen in video hitting man asks for job back
A Georgia police officer fired after authorities said a video showed him hitting a man in the face during a traffic stop wants his job back.
8:50PM ( 2 weeks ago )
AP Online - Georgia News
Peterson scoffs at notion he's over the hill
Adrian Peterson scoffs at the notion that decade in the NFL and two knee injuries have left him worn-down and less-effective
8:58PM ( 3 days ago )
Jamaal Charles signs 1-year deal with Denver Broncos
Former Kansas City Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles joins AFC West rival Denver on a one-year deal
8:46PM ( 3 days ago )
SUV in Aaron Hernandez double murder trial is up for auction
An SUV that prosecutors said ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez was in when he allegedly killed two men in 2012 is up for auction
8:32PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Police officer free on bond in teen's suburban Dallas death
A white Texas police officer who fired into a car of teenagers leaving an unruly party, killing a black 15-year-old passenger, faces a murder charge
1:01PM ( 14 minutes ago )
For LeBron, another Cavs' sweep is within reach
No surprise: LeBron James and the Cavs have Toronto on the brink in their Eastern Conference semifinal series
12:53PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Kipchoge falls 26 seconds short of first sub 2-hour marathon
Eliud Kipchoge is 26 seconds short of running the first marathon in under two hours
12:50PM ( 25 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kentucky Derby bugler playing with hurt leg
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has cooked up a winner on Kentucky Derby day.
12:50PM ( 25 minutes ago )
World's oldest standing army has 40 new Swiss Guards
The world's oldest standing army as 40 new members after a Vatican Swiss Guard swearing-in ceremony
12:41PM ( 35 minutes ago )