Athlon's ACC preview magazine has given a couple of Panthers All ACC first-team accolades. Defensive lineman Aaron Donald and safety Jason Hendricks both made the cut.
Donald had 5.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for loss last season. His 1.54 tackles for loss per game led the Big East and ranked 12th in the nation. Hendricks led the team with 90 tackles, six interceptions, and ten passes defended.
Both will play big roles for Pitt this season. Donald coming back to the defensive line was huge. I've got major concerns about the unit, which will be even thinner with the transfer of Terrell Jackson and the move of T.J. Clemmings to the offensive line. Factor in KK Mosley-Smith's suspension, which may or may not end, and ... yeah.
The secondary, meanwhile, should be excellent as I've said since the end of last season and Hendricks is a big part of that. Pitt has lost Jarred Holley and Andrew Taglianetti, so it's good to have at least one starter back at safety.
Incoming freshmen Dorian Johnson and Tyler Boyd both also ranked in the top 30 first-year players (Johnson at No. 7 and Boyd at No. 26).