ESPN continued its offseason look at the ACC and brought up an intriguing question - who is the X-factor for each team in the conference?
For the Panthers, the site selected defensive end Dewayne Hendrix ... and I have a hard time disagreeing.
Hendrix transferred from Tennessee to the Panthers last year and after sitting out the 2015 season, is ready to get onto the field this fall. He was a big-time recruit before selecting Tennessee with reported offers from Ohio State, Florida, Michigan State, Penn State, and others. Hendrix was a four-star recruit per Rivals and rated by the site as the fifth best defensive end in the nation.
Safe to say he's an impact player.
He was an important 'get' for head coach Pat Narduzzi to strengthen the defensive line. Should he start, he could team up with Ejuan Price who terrorized quarterbacks last year and led the league in sacks per game on his way to making the All-ACC First Team. Pitt's next highest sack leader on the line? Shakir Soto and Tyrique Jarrett, who both had two apiece. To say that Hendrix can be a significant part of the line is a massive understatement and getting Soto to the inside of the line to potentially make room for him is a big help.
Freshman cornerback Damar Hamlin is another potential X-factor for Pitt and I think you can even make a case for kicker Chris Blewitt, who figures to have a hand (er, leg) in deciding some games. And, sure, you can point to running back James Conner, but at this point, I think he's expected to be a highly-productive player in his return. But for the most part, I agree with the Hendrix pick here.
Who's your X-Factor for the team in 2016?
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