Former Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell's career has been hanging in college football limbo ever since deciding to transfer from the Panthers, but that may change in the near future.
According to his mother, Toni Zuccaro, Shell has narrowed down his list to Kentucky, Ohio State and West Virginia.
According to the Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Shell's priority is to stay near his 16-month-old twin daughters. He was slated to transfer to UCLA, but a going away party held for him on Father's Day prompted a change of heart, and the sophomore now intends to stay close to home.
"He came home after school was over and he started spending a lot of time with his kids and stuff," Zuccaro said. "That's hard."
Which of his finalists is the best transfer option for Shell?
Definitely the West Virginia Mountaineers.
The 6'0", 215-pound former 247Sports.com composite 5-star prospect has home run speed but the size to be a weapon in short-yardage situations. Throw him in the mix with Mountaineer head coach Dana Holgorsen, and you have a recipe for success.
Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last season behind Ray Graham and added nine receptions for 103 yards out of the backfield. He's a versatile weapon who can make an impact in a variety of ways.
Holgorsen's offense sometimes gets labeled as an air-raid offense, and that's simply not accurate.
It's a true spread offense that gets the ball in the hands of playmakers in space. Andrew Buie rushed for 850 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago, and recently departed wide receiver Tavon Austin added 652 and three scores.
Shell will have to sit out a year if he transfers to a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program, which means the recent transfer of senior running back Charles Sims from Houston to West Virginia shouldn't impact his decision at all.
That's not a knock against Kentucky or Ohio State.
Shell could certainly be dangerous if paired up with Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer, but Meyer's offenses feature running quarterbacks as much, if not more than running backs. Braxton Miller led the Buckeyes in rushing last season; and other than quarterback Tim Tebow, the only Gators to eclipse the 700-yard mark rushing under Meyer were Jeff Demps (2009) and Percy Harvin (2006).
He'd be a secondary piece for the Buckeyes.
The same can be said at Kentucky.
New offensive coordinator Neal Brown will differentiate Kentucky a bit and bring the program back to more of an air-raid offense. Shell could help as a receiver out of the backfield, but running back isn't the focal point of that offense.
No matter which program he chooses, it will be fun to see how his career progresses. All three programs could use him in a variety of ways, and with the talent he possesses, his coaches could get very creative with him.
West Virginia would be the best option though. Shell and Holgorsen together would be a match made in offensive heaven.
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