How Rushel Shell's Decision to Not Transfer Impacts UCLA and Pittsburgh

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIJune 24, 2013

December 1, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers running back Rushel Shell (4) runs with the ball against the South Florida Bulls during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

—UPDATE: Thursday, June 27 at 4:01 p.m. EDT—

In speaking with Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Rushel Shell's mother, Toni Zuccaro, said that her son is now considering Ohio State, Kentucky and West Virginia, as his quest to find a landing spot continues (h/t CollegeFootballTalk):

The twisting saga of Rushel Shell's college football career appears to be inching closer to its next turn.

The former Pitt running back has narrowed the choices for his eventual destination to West Virginia, Ohio State and Kentucky, according to his mother, Toni Zuccaro...

...His goal is to visit all three schools this summer and make a decision before teams open fall camp the first week of August.


—UPDATE: Monday, June 24 at 4:31 p.m. EDT—

As first reported by Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (update below), multiple sources are now confirming that Pitt will not accept the return of Rushel Shell.

Among them are Jerry DiPaola of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review and Brett McMurphy of ESPN:


—UPDATE: Monday, June 24 at 4:03 p.m. EDT—

Sam Werner, a Pitt beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, tweeted on Monday afternoon that, according to his sources, Rushel Shell will not be returning to Pittsburgh:

He went on to say that Pitt never seriously entertained Shell's return.

Stick with us here at Bleacher Report for updates on the ongoing Shell situation.


About this time every year, hoards of college football players think over their playing situation and ultimately decide to take their game elsewhere. 

However, it isn't very often that a player makes his decision to transfer, only to say, "Just kidding!" and head back to his original school.

But that is exactly what is happening with Rushel Shell—the Pittsburgh running back who chose to transfer to UCLA and now will apparently head back to Pitt—according to the Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times.

On April 2, Pitt announced that Shell would be transferring—just two weeks later, he chose the Bruins.

However, the quick-footed runner apparently got cold feed, as Foster reported on Sunday that he would be looking to head back to Pitt to be closer to his twin daughters in Pennsylvania.

Shell's decision—if true—is unfortunate for the Bruins, as the Aliquippa, Pa. native could have been molded into the next Johnathan Franklin.

However, since Shell would have sat out the 2013 season anyway, the move won't be all that painful for UCLA, even despite the void left by the departure of the school's all-time leading rusher, Franklin.

UCLA will be led by an experienced one-two punch at running back of senior Damien Thigpen and junior Jordon James, who combined for just less than 500 yards and four touchdowns in complement to Franklin in 2012.

Looking forward, the Bruins will likely look to sophomores Melvin Emesibe and Steven Manfro to represent the future of their backfield.

While those in Westwood will likely just move on from the idea of what could have been with Shell, the Panthers have to be thrilled at the return of their star runner.

Shell solidified himself as the future of the backfield after a successful freshman campaign in which he ran for 641 yards while complementing Pitt's feature back—1,000-yard rusher Ray Graham.

With Shell heading to UCLA, Pitt was left with only one returning rusher with more than 100 yards under his belt—junior Isaac Bennett, who amassed 141 yards and three touchdowns on the ground in 2012. 

No official news has been announced by either Pitt or UCLA regarding Shell's status, but if he is indeed heading back home, the Panthers have to be welcoming him back with open arms.

When Shell joined the Panthers, he did so as the heir to the Pitt running back throne previously held by stars Graham and LeSean McCoy.

Now, it appears as though he'll be reclaiming that throne in Oakland.