Outside linebacker Steve Donatell is No. 36 on the Blogger So Dear player countdown. The redshirt sophomore Donatell started the first three games of the year at outside linebacker last year before tearing his ACL against ULM on September 14th.
Assuming he is on track with all of his rehab, Donatell should be competing to get that starting spot back alongside Marquel Lee and Brandon Chubb.
At 6-6, 230, Donatell has the height and the size to be a punishing hitter and disruptive player at the line. His versatility as an athlete (four sport athlete in high school) is also a great asset for any football player.
He graduated from Highlands Ranch (CO) HS in 2012, where he made the First Team All-Continental League as a quarterback and a punter. He also chipped in 625 yards rushing with seven touchdowns.
An interesting note on Donatell is that his father, Ed, is a secondary coach for the San Francisco 49ers, and a former defensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. His brother, Tom, played linebacker at Iowa from 2008-2012.
If everything has gone smoothly coming back from his injury, Donatell will be on the young players to watch this year on the defensive front seven. He has all the tools as an athlete to be a key player moving forward for the Deacs.