Since returning to Pitt is not an option for Rushel Shell, the former Panthers running back now must find a new home.
Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shell’s mother said her son has a strong interest in, and received his release to play for, the following schools: Kentucky, Ohio State, and Pitt’s (former) Backyard Brawl rival, West Virginia. The plan, Toni Zuccaro told the paper, is for Shell to visit all three schools over the summer and make a decision before the start of fall camp.
Shell’s mother also confirmed the reason her son wavered on his decision to transfer to UCLA was because he wanted to be closer to his 16-month-old twin daughters. While Zuccaro didn’t have many flattering things to say about Pitt, she said UCLA’s coaches were more understanding of her son’s wishes.
If Shell transfers to any one of the three programs reportedly on his short list, he will have to sit out the 2013 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules unless he receives a special waiver. Shell is apparently okay with that and not interested in transferring down to the FCS or Division II level. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Ohio State and WVU offered Shell out of high school, and a pair of former Pitt players, Chris and Demitrious Davis, transferred to Kentucky earlier this month.
As the primary backup to Ray Graham last season, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns. Both of those totals were good for second on the team, and tops among returning backs.