Quadree Henderson is proof that good things can come in small packages

Everyone and their mother knew that Pittsburgh would miss wide receiver Tyler Boyd in 2016. Boyd was a three-year star for the Panthers (254 career receptions, 3,361 yards and 21 touchdowns), and their most important offensive player a season ago. In the absence of James Conner, Boyd became the nucleus of Pitt’s offense during Pat Narduzzi’s first season at the school. The wideout — now a member of the Cincinnati Bengals — led the ACC in targets (126) and was second in receptions (91). Boyd carried the ball 40 times, too, for 349 yards, but his main involvement came in their short, efficient passing game (7.4 yards per target). Boyd was targeted on 38.4 percent of Pitt’s passes, and he snagged 72.2 percent of those tosses, according to Football Study Hall.

It seemed as though the most obvious person on the roster to replace some of Boyd’s lost production would be senior receiver Dontez Ford. Ford, who averaged 19.2 yards per reception in 2015, was one of just two returning Panthers to have been targeted at least 20 times last season — tight end Scott Orndoff would be the other (21). Ford, however, has played in just two games this season, caught two passes for 14 yards and has reportedly injured his clavicle, which required surgery and will cause him to miss for than just last week’s game at Oklahoma State.

Enter Quadree Henderson — a 5-8, 190 pound dynamo — who has ignited Pitt’s offense and special teams with a serious burst of playmaking.

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