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Pittsburgh spring wrap

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Dion goes prime-time: He's listed at 5-foot-8, but may be closer to 5-6 in reality. He's a true freshman who enrolled in January. Yet Dion Lewis pulled the surprise of Pitt's camp by emerging as the leading candidate to replace LeSean McCoy as the starting tailback. He outperformed Shariff Harris and Chris Burns and would be in line for the bulk of the carries if the season started today.

Linebacker depth: There was some concern early on that the graduation of Big East defensive player of the year Scott McKillop and Austin Ransom would leave the linebacking corps thin. But then Adam Gunn got cleared for a sixth year after last season's neck injury and won the middle linebacker job. Shane Murray came back from a knee injury, Greg Williams continued to improve rapidly and Max Gruder made an impression this spring. Pitt looks just fine at that position.

Plenty of playmakers: Pitt lost leading receiver Derek Kinder to the draft, and T.J. Porter was suspended for the spring before eventually leaving. But there's no shortage of talent at wideout, including Oderick Turner, Cedric McGee and Jonathan Baldwin, who may take the next step and become the superstar everyone believes he'll be. The Panthers' speed at the skill positions is as good as it's been in a while.

Fall questions

Quarterback competition: Pat Bostick and Tino Sunseri didn't unseat Bill Stull as the starter, but they haven't been ruled out yet, either. All three had their moments during the spring, and the competition is sure to continue at least early on in fall camp. Pitt could win the Big East if it can simply solidify that position.

O-line shuffling: Robb Houser didn't perform up to expectations at center this spring, which may cause a reboot among the offensive line. Youngsters Lucas Nix and Chris Jacobsen might have forced their way into the starting lineup with their strong play, perhaps moving John Malecki to center and Joe Thomas from right tackle to guard. It's a situation the Panthers would like to have solved by the fall.

Kicking game: Pitt lost two standout special teams players in punter Dave Brytus and kicker Conor Lee. Teams rarely figure out who's ready to shine under pressurized game situations in the spring, so it might not be until the coaches see the new guys in action that they know what they have. Porter also served as the team's punt returner, so that's another hole to be filled.