Rushel Shell has gone from the top of Pitt’s depth chart at running back to a highly heralded player without a team, again.
Shell left Pitt two weeks into spring drills and, after Panthers coach Paul Chryst allowed Pennsylvania’s all-time leading high school rusher to take a short leave from the team, the running back announced his intention to transfer.
Shell opted for UCLA, where he would have to sit out one season according to NCAA regulations, but never enrolled there and recently changed his mind. Shell has twin daughters, Arionna and Amiyah, and he informed UCLA of his desire to remain close to them according to a story published in the Los Angeles Times.
Several sources reported Shell approached Pitt on Sunday about returning. Chryst told Shell to look elsewhere.
When Shell first sought to leave Pitt, school officials blocked him from transferring to Arizona or Arizona State. Arizona is headed by former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez. Former Pitt coach Todd Graham is the Sun Devils’ coach. Shell was also banned from transferring to an ACC school.
Shell rushed for 9,078 yards at Hopewell High School (District 7) from 2008-11 and was considered one of Pitt’s top running back recruits in decades. As a freshman, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns while serving as the primary backup to Ray Graham.
Pitt begins training camp in six weeks with four scholarship running backs – junior Isaac Bennett, redshirt sophomore Malcom Crockett, freshman James Connor and former walk-on Desmond Brown.