October 14, 2011

Big Daddy Rushel Shell is a Panther

Filed under: Uncategorized — Reed @ 8:38 am

Good news for modern man, our prime target picked PITT just after 0800 this morning .

For you non-military types that is 8:00.

Todd Graham really needs to step up if he wants to shake the ‘can’t recruit’ label.  This kid is going to make a great linebacker.

great news! ….and why would Graham have a can’t recruit label?

Comment by notrocketscience 10.14.11 @ 8:42 am

Thank you Jim Tressel and Mr. Pryor for making Rushel Shell’s decision much easier for him. Am very excited about this young man and what he can bring to the Pitt football program. Look forward to watching Rushel tonight on tv to see what we can evision for the next 3 years. LET’S GO PITT AND THE ACC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Bruce F 10.14.11 @ 9:14 am

I rather hope he is going to making some great linebackers look foolish.

Comment by KeithS 10.14.11 @ 9:24 am

I hereby issue Todd Graham a 3 year pass for win-loss record. This recruit will have LASTING IMPACT on the program. The top player in the state is coming to Pitt.

Comment by DeVanzo 10.14.11 @ 9:53 am

REED you had a post 6 or 7 weeks ago dont know the exact words but it was like what would think if PITT could go to the ACC.

And this was weeks before it happened did you have inside info did you know it was comeing.

Comment by FRANKCAN 10.14.11 @ 9:56 am

Top 5 QB and Top 5 RB in same class? Scary!!!

Comment by SJ 10.14.11 @ 9:59 am

This is great news for the program. Hope that staying “home” works out well for Shell in every way possible, and selfishly that it works out very well for us fans too!

Comment by JW 10.14.11 @ 10:10 am


While the news is hot now is the time to make an all out effort to pick up as many of our top recruiting prospects as possible!!
We obviously have many areas to improve…let’s hope that we can make this one of our better recruiting clases.

Comment by isnore 10.14.11 @ 10:13 am

My nephew was a year ahead of him at Hopewell and played football there, so I’ve had a chance to watch this kid basically since he was in 8th grade, playing on a 9th/10th grade JV Hopewell team, and he’s been this good for that long.

I’ve never seen a running back in high school showcase the combination of speed and raw power that Shell does, nor have I ever seen a RB at this level break so many tackles. If it makes any sense, he is an extremely violent running back. He doesn’t shy away from contact at all and has no problem lowering his shoulder, but he’s also deceptively quick and can make people miss much the way we saw from McCoy and now Graham.

If I had to nitpick his game a little bit, it’s that he may not have the same elite-level breakaway speed that McCoy had at Pitt. But that’s much more a testament to Shady than it is a knock on Shell. Shell has run away from plenty of defenders in his four years at Hopewell.

The thing that’s most impressive to me about Shell is the fact that he’s put up these numbers on teams that aren’t incredibly balanced, especially last year and this year (though not quite to the same extent). He was their only established threat last year and he faced defenses that routinely stacked nine and ten in the box, and he still put up unbelievable numbers and performances. And this is also a player who plays on both sides of the ball.

Here’s hoping he keeps his head on straight and realizes the opportunity he has. He absolutely could and should be a program-changing/program-defining recruit for Todd Graham and Pitt.

Comment by Stoosh 10.14.11 @ 10:18 am

saw both Dorsett and Shell play in high school. I believe Dorsett had more speed (not that Shell is slow), but Shell has more power and certainy had more powerful build than Dorsett.

Shell has this burst where it seems he goes from 1st to 4th gear in less than a second.

The game tonight should be a good test since Central Valley probably has best team in AAA, and has a lot of team speed. Hope weather conditions don’t ruin it

Comment by wbb 10.14.11 @ 10:31 am

Welcome Russell,


Comment by H.landPitt 10.14.11 @ 10:32 am

Very nice pickup, hopefully this can sway some highly rated recruits to come Pitt’s way because there is plenty of opportunity to play early.

Comment by Dallas Panther 10.14.11 @ 10:51 am

Linebacker my ass. He’s gonna run the ball.

Comment by alcofan 10.14.11 @ 11:05 am

I just hope he will listen to the coaches and hit the weight room. His body is naturaly built well. He can get faster and run harder will little bit of working out.
I saw him at the Mt. Lebo game and he was running in about 3rd gear when he noticed he better pick it up(defenders had angles on him) he hit 5th gear like there was no tomorrow.
Hard work will pay off kid!!!

Comment by QuipPitt 10.14.11 @ 11:28 am

[…] Russel Shell commit is obviously welcome news. The 4- to 5-star Army All-American Running Back is staying home to play […]

What a great recruiting coup for TG and the Panthers! You better believe that landing kids like Shell and Voytik relatively early will do wonders for the rest of this 2012 class. I’m sure guys like Deaysean Rippy and Demetrius Cox are paying attention this morning!

Comment by BCPITT 10.14.11 @ 11:36 am

I graduated from Pitt in 1973 when TD was a freshman and went to several home games and saw the N.D. games on T.V. I believe it is unfair to compare Schell to Dorsett who was in my mind the greatest college running back in history. TD played at another level (345 yards against the top defense in the country).

As good as I believe Schell is in high school and will be in college I hope he has the opportunity to use those skills at Pitt with the current coaching staff and system. After all his size 210lbs. and running style may not fit into the triple option spread five yard passing system.

I am sixty years old and I was with my uncle in the stands in 1963. I watched on ABC and was in the stands from 1973-1977. In 1977 I move to Atlanta but continued to go to 4 away games during the Marino years. I fear I may be have become so anti-Graham based on what I has witnessed and heard over the last six weeks that I hoping he fails. This causes me conflict since I believe I am equal to any zealous Pitt fan over the past 50 years.

Living in the Southeast and seeing the type of physical fundamental football of Alabama and LSU(my biggest thrills were beating Georgia twice in the Sugar Bowl), and having seen up close the quality and caliber of our atheletes in the seventies, eighties, although the numbers were not as many but top notch football players in the nineties, and up to 2010. I interpret Graham’s style of football, which is not at all what Boise State runs says we can not recruit with, match up to our opponents and I can not coach my personnel up physically and emotionally to compete (contrary to Dixon) so lets see if we can trick them as often as possible and sneak in as many victories in a season as we can.

Being honest it is obvious my adversion to Grahams style of football (I have no objections to a spread offense but if your system is not built with a QB who can extend the field vertically all the triple option bull-shit you run will not work against a decent defense because you will have 11 men within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and you will face safty blitzies all day. A running QB who can not throw is worthless).

This is the reason that is obvious why my blogs have been mostly negative. To me it is like the Occupy Wall Street movement – the young woman carrying a poster simply stating “Its the system, sytem, system.”

Comment by DRW 10.14.11 @ 11:44 am

FRANKCAN – Not me, I really wasn’t all that interested in the conference discussions. I figured that the PIT administration would do what it takes to keep us secure.

Alcofan, Shell will go both ways and Graham will play him until he drops dead on the field.

Stoosh – you said “he’s put up these numbers on teams that aren’t incredibly balanced…” which means Shell will fit in perfectly since we have no passing game now and won’t have in the near future.

DRW – honestly, you know I love you big guy but do you not use paragraphs just to piss everyone off? I’m sure there are more than a few commenters who skip you stuff because of it.

As the writer of this article I am going to edit your post because i have the power to do so.

Comment by Reed 10.14.11 @ 12:32 pm

DRW, agree to a point that it is unfair to compare anyone to Dorsett. On the other hand, Shell is from Hopewell and broke all of TD’s records, and may be the highest rated RB Pitt got since TD. But your point is very well taken.

Comment by wbb 10.14.11 @ 12:35 pm

I didn’t see Shell play in person but after watching his tapes it seems to me that he’s really a different type of RB than Dorsett was.

It’s hard to describe Dorsett’s style but he was a bit short of Barry Sander’s moves with unbelievable speed.

Shell doesn’t seem to be that, he seems to be more power & moves mixed with decent speed.

Comment by Reed 10.14.11 @ 12:39 pm


For what it’s worth, Graham’s system at Tulsa utilized a couple of bigger backs, almost fullback-sized. Alex Singleton was about 6’1″, 250. Trey Watts was 5’11”, 203 and Charles Clay was 6’3″, 230, and each of those three factored heavily into their running game in 2009 or 2010.

In your post above, you question whether a RB can be effective in this offense without a QB who can extend the field vertically. While I do agree with you that in order to function properly, this offense needs to QB who can force defenses to respect the deep pass, a running back in this offense without such a QB can still be effective. How else would explain what Ray Graham is doing right now?

I do see your point and I agree. My hope is that by the time Shell is hitting his peak at Pitt, most of those other pieces will be in place.

If Ray Graham can work in this offense, Rushel Shell should be just fine as well.

Comment by Stoosh 10.14.11 @ 12:58 pm


It’s the truth. The team Hopewell had when Shell was a sophomore was probably their most balanced – experienced, good QB with a couple of decent wideouts to take some pressure off the running game.

They came into 2010 having lost pretty much all of those weapons with the exception of Shell. They were breaking in a new QB and some new receivers, and I’m not sure how much faith Vestal had in the younger kids. They ran a wildcat package last year with Shell quite often, much the same way Pitt did with Shady in 2007 after Stull got hurt in the opener.

Comment by Stoosh 10.14.11 @ 1:06 pm

HOLY SHORT TERM MEMORY BATMAN. 9 months ago from this past Sunday, TODD GRAHAM WAS THE HEAD COACH OF TULSA. He showed up in Pittsburgh 25 days before signing day. He showed up in Pittsburgh 48 days before spring camp started.

It’s certainly everyone’s preference to like a more traditional offense. I could care less either way. I think it’s completely unfair to judge TG after being on the job 9 months and the fact that he has absolute SHIT in the two deep at ALL but 2 positions. We were a crappy 9-5 team last year, in a crappy conference and we lost 55% of our offense to the draft and graduation.

It’s obvious we have very little of what he needs to run his offense. We have very little to a pro set offense very well either, hence the 9-5, 8-4 records the past 7 years.

The expectations of some here are absurd. We didn’t even have a head coach 9 months and 3 days ago.

Talk about SOP!

Comment by cnorwoodaz 10.14.11 @ 1:13 pm

I think the guy needs his player in his system before we cast Mission Accomplished/Failed. I am with you DRW, I think it is a bit rinky dink to the eyes— but it is also the same rinky dink systems that are used in most of the high school hotbeds of the South. And as much as I am a Pitt homer, we are not going to get a 5 star pro athlete to leave the South to come up here until we build a consistent top-10 program. And at that time, we may be able to morph into a more conventional system– but until then, we need to let the guy build it and run it with his guys.

I will close by saying that I could careless about the overall system and style — as long as you win. Just win, baby. Shut up and win. Don’t sell me on what it is…show me.

Graham has 3 more years of showing to build his case, IMHO.

Comment by PaulyP 10.14.11 @ 1:21 pm

wbb…no offense but I think Shell might just be the highest rated RB Pitt has gotten since 2007 when LeSean McCoy committed. If I’m not wrong Shady was top 5 RB in the nation on his way to Miami when he broke his ankle during his senior year in high school…after doing a year @ Bishop McDevitt he committed to Pitt as the #7 RB in the land.

@cnorwoodaz…I don’t think anyone’s expectations are anymore than what the new HC has been touting and accepting since he walked in 25 days before signing day, am I right?

Comment by BCPITT 10.14.11 @ 1:53 pm

If you watch the game tonight, don’t be too disappointed if Shell doesn’t tear it up. As wbb said, Central Valley has a very good team and Lyons will have his kids ready.

There’s also a kid on CV worth watching, Robert Foster. He doesn’t play as big a role in his offense as Shell does for Hopewell, but the kid is special. Pitt has him on their radar for 2013, but so do a lot of other schools. He would be awesome in High Octane.

Comment by TampaT 10.14.11 @ 3:15 pm

BCPITT – I think that Shady was on his way to USC, not Miami, not that it really matters.

Comment by Jeff in CPa 10.14.11 @ 4:26 pm

can’t find a stream to this game

Comment by Pedro Salgado 10.14.11 @ 6:16 pm

Jeff…not to be a dk, but look it up…it was def Miami.

TampaT…despite reservations Shell tore it UP tonight!

Comment by BCPITT 10.14.11 @ 10:37 pm

@BCPitt I’d agree with you that Graham’s initial comments, predictions are/were equally absurd. Although, I bet you he is absolutely shocked at the difference between the level of talent, passion and toughness he thought he was inheriting and what he actually has.

Comment by Cnorwood 10.14.11 @ 11:42 pm

Yeah, BCPITT. I was glad to see that. He was coming off a concussion and CV knew he was really all Hopewell had. He killed them last year, so as you saw, they loaded it up at the line of scrimmage on him. That’s why I made the comment above. But he showed how good he is despite all the attention from the CV defense.

How about Foster? Like I said, he’s going to be special. I hope landing Shell makes him take Pitt’s offer seriously. He should have a ton of offers by this time next year, so we’ll see.

Comment by TampaT 10.15.11 @ 6:38 am

Word on the street, is that there was no concussion. Shell was suspended for a few days from school. Not sure how true this is.

Comment by QuipPitt 10.15.11 @ 3:32 pm

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