McDonald, the son of a former Texas Longhorns linebacker, did not receive the attention of large collegiate programs out of high school. One reason could be his hometown of Winnie, Texas, which has a population of less than 3,500 people. Even though he comes from a small town, McDonald has big-time talent and displayed plenty of that during Senior Bowl week.
Despite his size and NFL projection, McDonald was mostly used as a slot receiver throughout his career, creating a size and physical mismatch in both the passing and running games. In his first season, McDonald caught 12 passes but missed two games due to an injury. He quickly turned into Rice's top receiving option in 2010, amassing 396 yards and eight touchdowns on 28 receptions. In that same year, McDonald was named the Owls' top receiver after earning the George R. Brown Award. In 2011, McDonald continued his consistent production, catching 43 passes for 452 yards and five touchdowns. His numbers dipped a bit as a senior, collecting 36 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns. McDonald also finished the season as the team's long snapper.