Donnie is a 1956 graduate of DeLand playing in that year’s rivalry game and scoring two touchdowns, one for 88 yards and one for 85 yards. Donnie was named All-Conference, All-Southern, and All-American while at DeLand and received a scholarship to Florida State. He soon had to return home due to his father’s health, and later played at SMU where his career was cut short due to injuries. He joined the Air Force and played service ball, where he was named All-Service Team for three years. He was also nominated for “Outstanding Player of the Armed Forces,” the military equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. He was then invited to try out for the Baltimore Colts.