Shell went to Hopewell High School, a thirty-minute drive along the Ohio River to Pitt’s Oakland campus. He was a top recruit at running back, setting the national mark for consecutive 100-yard rushing games and breaking the Pennsylvania state record for career yardage. And even with all the trouble the Panthers had in their transition from Dave Wannstedt to Mike Haywood, they eventually landed on Paul Chryst, the engineer of Wisconsin’s powerful rushing attack.
He rushed for 641 yards his freshman year, and got 25 carries in the bowl game against Ole Miss. He looked primed to carry the mantle of Ray Graham, Dion Lewis and Shady McCoy and help the Panthers make the transition to the ACC.
But Shell wanted out, deciding in April that he was going to transfer to UCLA. That was the story until this weekend, when the L.A. Times reported that Shell had a change of heart and wanted to stay near his family in Pennsylvania. He wished to remain a Panther.
Well, one small problem: Chyrst and the Panthers staff don’t want him back.
Rushel Shell will not be returning to the Pitt football team after all.
Coaches in the football program will not consider the option of reinstating Shell, a source with knowledge of the situation said today.
Shell could not be reached for comment today.
If Pitt doesn’t want Shell back and he wants to stay in the area, he could look to transfer to West Virginia, Penn State, Ohio State or a MAC school. It could open up another messy battle over transfer restrictions, but the Mountaineers and Buckeyes aren’t currently on any future Pitt schedules and the Nittany Lions don’t appear until 2016. Allowing him to attend either of those schools would get Shell out of the ACC (and out of Pitt’s hair) while allowing him to stay within a few hours of his hometown of Aliquippa. Wherever Shell lands, barring a miracle hardship waiver, he will not be playing this autumn.
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