Khaynin Mosley-Smith's return is significant for Pitt football

Pitt's football program lost a lot of key players from last season, but the defensive line may be the unit most depleted. The Panthers lost seniors Aaron Donald and Ty Ezell to graduation and the NFL (or maybe, the WWE). Recently, Bryan Murphy also decided not to return and that left David Durham as the only returning full-time starter on the line.

The Panthers have options, mind you. Ejuan Price started a handful of games last year when Murphy was injured. Daryl Render, Shakir Soto, and LaQuentin Smith all saw a good big of time. But getting Khaynin Mosley-Smith back at tackle is a good thing to have.

Mosley-Smith was suspended for all of last year when he was reportedly at a house where a drug bust took place and at one point, it wasn't even known if he'd be able to come back to the program. However, he will be back this season and he won't only figure into the rotation, but he could even start.

One of Mosley-Smith's biggest supporters may be one of the guys Pitt needs to replace - Aaron Donald:

If anything, in relating to Donald, Mosley-Smith says he was the one person who gave him words of encouragement through his suspension.

"A lot of people helped me through it, my family was behind me," Mosley-Smith said. "The one person on the team who kept me going was Aaron Donald; telling me how bright my future was, keep doing what I would do."

Mosley-Smith has only had a limited impact so far at Pitt (in two seasons, he has 15 total tackles and no sacks, making one career start). However, his experience in the program is something that will surely help. In addition, he was on the scout team on his absence, so he wasn't completely away from the program.

As I wrote before, Pitt needs to find a way to generate some pressure on opposing quarterbacks with Donald's loss and Mosley-Smith will have a chance to be a part of that.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley

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