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ESPN cites two Panthers with 1,000-yard potential in 2016

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN.com recently had an article about potential 1,000-yard rushers in the ACC for this upcoming season. In it, they cited both James Conner and Qadree Ollison as those with realistic chances.

Both are solid choices and well-deserved. Conner ran for over 1,700 yards two years ago last year before missing last season with an MCL injury. In his place, Ollison topped the 1,000-yard mark as a redshirt freshman, so he's accomplished that feat already as well.

Even though both are capable, I'm not sure they will both reach that mark. The reason isn't so much that there isn't room for two backs to have big years. Rather, it's that the Panthers still have true sophomore Darrin Hall and a returning Rachid Ibrahim, who missed last year with an ACL injury. Sure, the team could plan to do something like redshirt Hall, for example, to keep the rotation to three guys. But even that would include the assumption that the other three would stay healthy and as we saw last year with Conner and Ibrahim missing for most/all of the season, that is a tremendous 'if.'

One factor here is obviously the passing game. Quarterback Nate Peterman should be more comfortable after a near-full year as the starter. However, the team also lost its best receiver and safety blanket Tyler Boyd, so the passing game could be sort of a question mark. Still, assuming all four play at some point in the season, I'm not sure two 1,000-yard rushers is all that likely if Conner is ready for a full load. What say you?

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