Senior defensive end at the University of West Georgia, Dylan Donahue, is preparing for the annual NFL Draft Combine. Donahue’s record breaking senior season turned the heads of professional scouts, earning him an invitation to the 2017 Combine.
Such honors are rarely given to a player at the Division II level of competition. Yet, after accumulating some of the most impressive stats in Gulf South Conference history, Donahue has proved that he can compete at the next level. On Jan. 21 the Billings, Mont. native participated in the NFLPA Bowl along side some of the top recruits from throughout the nation. This was also a great opportunity for Dylan to catch the eye of some of the NFL scouts in attendance. He performed well among the elite and furthermore proved his right to compete as a draftee.
None of these opportunities would have been possible without the incredible career Donahue had as a West Georgia Wolf. The 24-year-old senior capped off his career with a record setting season and finished third on the team with 67 total tackles. More impressively is that 20 of those tackles were for a loss. With such an ability to explode past the lineman into the offensive backfield, Donahue set a new Gulf South Conference single season sack record with 13.5 sacks. With such an impressive senior display, the dominant defensive end now holds the all-time sack record at the University of West Georgia with 25.5 sacks. As if he could shine any brighter, Dylan was named Gulf South Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-Gulf South Conference, AFCA All-American, and an AP Little All-American. Thus, making him a finalist for the Gene Upshaw DII Lineman of the Year Award.
Donahue has spectacularly separated himself from the rest of the pack on the field of play. Opposing teams would fear his gnarly speed and aggressiveness while his fellow pack of Wolves would in turn embrace his impressive skillset. Even some of his (now former) teammates admit that Donahue is a force to be reckoned with. Former University of West Georgia defensive tackle Demarkus Trice played alongside the hopeful pro on the defensive line. Not only did Demarkus recognize the on-field dominance of Donahue but also his character off of the field. “Not only is Dylan one of the greatest athletes I’ve ever played with, but he also possesses leadership skills unlike any other,” says Trice.” He always put the team before self” and “would act almost as a big brother figure to the younger guys on the team.” This is a quality that any NFL scout would love to implement into their defensive huddle.
Another former West Georgia Wolf, Adam Holley, played quarterback for the Wolves from 2011-2016. Holley also felt the pressure of Donahue’s vicious outside attack on a near daily basis. “Right when he stepped on the field you knew he was going to be a special player,” says Holley. “The whole defense would rally around his energy and tenacity.” Holley and Donahue only played one full season together for the Wolves but gradually became brothers on and off the field.
Although some analysts classify Donahue as undersized, his former teammates believe that he will fit into a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker.
Currently, the former Wolf is training for the NFL Combine in San Diego, Calif. He is training at the Exos Training Facility and working with some of the best trainers in the world – Brent Callaway and Roy Holmes. Donahue credits much of his success and motivation to his father. “Well, my dad played 6 years in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, and the San Francisco 49er’s,” says Dylan “…so really I accredit my motivation and success to the drive that my dad has always instilled in me.” Mitch Donahue (Dylan’s father) was a standout player at the University of Wyoming and was a two time Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Defensive Player of the Year. When asked about his recent participation in the NFLPA Bowl game he said, “it was a humbling experience to be able to sit there and pick the brains of some of the top players in the nation, but I wasn’t there to make friends, I was there for business.” He went on to talk about how everybody participating in that game was about to have to go, “take a grown man’s job.” He also said he, “…will miss his coaches, teammates, the people, and the atmosphere in Carrollton.” when asked what he would miss about West Georgia.
Dylan Donahue grew up as a Denver Broncos fan and mentioned that it would be an extreme honor to play for one of the teams his father played for. Regardless of how Donahue performs at the Combine, his story is the perfect example that dedication and heart is exactly how to achieve your wildest dreams. The linebackers will display their talents on Mar. 5 on the NFL Network.