June 12, 2012

Rushel Shell Works

Filed under: Football,Players — Chas @ 2:08 pm

Great story I’m sure most of you have already seen.  Rushel Shell is not preparing for his freshman year in a typical way.

Every day, Rushel Shell looks at his twin daughters, Arionna and Amiyah, in awe. Already three months old, the girls are getting bigger and stronger by the day. He’s even beginning to see a little of himself in them.

Children have a way of changing things. Shell said he’s changed — for the better — because of his girls.

“It made me mature a lot,” said Shell. “It took me out of my kid state, and now I feel like I’m more of an adult than a kid. Whenever I’m out and thinking of doing something or wanting to do something, it makes me think about my daughters before I do anything.

“Most of the time, it’s just making me a better person.”

Shell has had to grow up in a hurry. He’s working a construction job to make money to provide for his kids. In a couple weeks, he’ll be starting summer classes at Pitt — he said he might like to study some type of engineering — and learning how to balance the rigors of academics with the demands of football.

We’ve all known that one of the major reasons Shell was sticking with Pitt after FraudGraham was that he was going to be a father before he graduated high school. That happens in life. It’s how you act. It’s what kind of responsibility you assume that shows what kind of person you are.

Yes great things are hoped for (expected?) on the field from Shell. More importantly, Shell is showing himself to be one who makes us proud that he will be at Pitt.

That’s the type of writing that gives me hope for the younger generation and, hence, this nation. Mr. Shell seems to have his priorities in order. Naturally, I look forward to his debut with the Panthers, but, more importantly, I look forward to his continuing maturity as a human being. May God continue to bless Rushell AND his family. Rev. George from Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 06.12.12 @ 2:34 pm

At risk of sounding like an old lady, if Mr. Shell had his prioroties in order, he wouldn’t have become a father prior to graduating high school.

Comment by Jaimz 06.12.12 @ 3:28 pm

…. Oh please. Kids do this all the time. It’s part of life. How he reacts to it is his measure as a man.

Comment by Hurriquake 06.12.12 @ 3:47 pm


The vast amjority of boys I see in this situation shrink from the responsibility. I think what the Reverend is saying is that he’s owning up to his responsibility now. One foolish mistake as a teenager doesn’t mean you can’t start making better decisions.

Comment by Bowling Green Panther 06.12.12 @ 4:02 pm

I agree with Bowling Green Panther and the Rev’s sentiments. And in case anyone has forgotten their history, in the not too distant past, they are at what was the prime age for having children.

Comment by Digdug 06.12.12 @ 6:41 pm

Sounds like he does not want to be like his father who was not a part of his life. He wants to be the father he never had

Comment by GeorgeH 06.12.12 @ 7:13 pm

BowlingGreen — I agree with the sentiment that he’s doing the right thing. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s almost inconceivable for someone to get accidentally pregnant in 2012. This irresponsible act is going to affect his life in many ways. How is he supporting these kids? The NCAA severely restricts what these kids can earn, and it’s nowhere near enough to support two kids. He’s going to be dealing with drama from the kids mom all throughout his career at Pitt, including pressure to leave early, whether or not he is ready. Guess who is a prime target for under the table payments from agents?
Hurriquake — Just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s right.

Comment by Jaimz 06.12.12 @ 7:49 pm

Wow. I’m going to steer clear of the (absurd) discussion about whether or not high schoolers having sex is okay.

I just wanted to agree with the original post. This does make me proud to have Shell in the mix.

Comment by maz. 06.12.12 @ 8:07 pm

Wow you guys need to get a life. The kid is doing the right thing enough said.

Comment by Wd 06.12.12 @ 8:13 pm

Yikes. My expectations have just been lowered for this guy. If he can’t even slip on a jimmy hat, what kind of trouble is he going to get into at Pitt?

Comment by Chris 06.12.12 @ 9:07 pm

I think were missing the point here. Hes being responsible in what hes doing. We dont know what happened to get him to the point, well, not the details at least, nor is it our business. What matters is hes going to have to mature faster than most high schoolers, and while there will be pressure added, this boosted maturity should motivate him to succeed at pitt.

Comment by Pk 06.12.12 @ 9:55 pm

maz — this isn’t a discussion about whether or not hih schoolers having sex is ok. It’s about the amount of praise being heaped upon Shell, while the poor judgement that led to his current circumstances is swept under the rug. As intimated by another poster, condoms are cheap, pregnancy is very unavoidable. The fact that he got himself into this situation is a major red flag, and it’s astounding that some are using it as an example of his great character.

Comment by Jaimz 06.12.12 @ 10:38 pm

Wow, 17 year old kids make mistakes folks. How they respond to bad decisions both builds and reveals character.

I hope he succeeds. My son is adopted. He was not wanted by those who brought him here, but he was loved from the moment my wife and I saw him. We are grateful he was born. He is not a mistake. He is our son.

I know many “adults” who have no more regard for their children than they do for their cars. Mr. Shell puts them to

Comment by SFPitt 06.13.12 @ 2:44 am


We actually do know what happened to get him to the point.

I agree with some other posters; I’m tired of seeing teenage fathers held up as models of taking responsibility. Ridiculous.

Comment by hugh green 06.13.12 @ 7:31 am

Life is complicated.

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.13.12 @ 7:43 am

If every high schooler was made to wear their mistakes and indiscretions around their necks, very few of us would have been able to advance in life. Let’s be proud of the kid for accepting the consequences of his actions and working hard in doing the right thing.

Comment by ECH 06.13.12 @ 7:58 am

Unless someone here is a deity, we ALL make mistakes.

How you react, learn and grow from these mistakes is the true indicator of character.

I didn’t realize there were so many high-horses around here……..

Comment by pghFred 06.13.12 @ 8:19 am

Wow. It’s not like this was a one night stand. This was a girlfriend since 8th grade. Who is to say they didn’t take precautions? As Dr. Tom stated – life is complicated. No one’s putting him on pedestal but as others have said, the mark of a man is how he stares down adversity. He could have left and gone to a legit BCS contending school but he stayed close to home to be with and help support his family. Yes, he made a mistake but all indications are that he realizes this and is taking ownership of it. I do find it a little absurd that it’s a big deal he has a job – most in that situation would. The only exception here is that he is an athlete on scholarship – apparently they’re not expected to be responsible? Some standards we have of our student athletes (an unfair one at that). Leave the kid alone.

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 06.13.12 @ 8:34 am

I have two ‘mistakes’ but love them dearly.

Comment by TX Panther 06.13.12 @ 9:46 am

The kid made a mistake that any one of us could have easily made at his age (and if you guys out there are honest with yourselves you know that’s true), and it’s simply a statement about his maturity that he’s taking responsibility and not running away from it. This was his long-time girlfriend as well, not just some random hook-up.

I’m not trying to make him out to be some kind of saint or hero, here. It’s simply that the typical college student today is extremely immature, and if you think the number of unplanned pregnancies in high school is alarming, it’s insignificant compared to the number that happen in college. So, in spite of this one mistake, Shell is probably already leaps and bounds ahead of most college students in terms of maturity, and that will show both on the field and in the classroom. Most students currently in college simply don’t belong there. IMO, Shell’s attitude and actions so far show that he does.

It should also be mentioned again that he is thinking beyond football, and plans to major in engineering to insure that he can provide for his family and make something of himself. He’s not just counting on an NFL-pipe dream or majoring in something easy so he can party for four years like most kids. To me, that says more about him than anything else. IMO, he will be a credit to Pitt because of his maturity and attitude, even if he never sees the field on Saturday.

So, go for it Rushel, and whatever happens with football, make sure you get that engineering degree! That’s the guaranteed ticket in life for you and your family, not football. (Of course, if you can squeeze a few 1000 yard seasons in there as well, I wouldn’t complain!)

Comment by TheOtherSteve 06.13.12 @ 9:46 am

I’m with Tossing Thabeets on one point as well, while it seems a lot of folks are eager to crucify him for his terrible judgement in the past, how are they sure that precautions were not taken? The manufacturer’s of every type of contraceptive clearly disclaim the fact that they are not 100% effective. Condoms especially have an average failure rate of 15% and AT BEST 2% failure rate.

The reason that people are giving Rushel praise on his actions after the fact is due to the sad sad fact that in America that always doesn’t happen. There are fully grown and professionaly succesfull “men” that refuse to take the responsibility that Rushel has clearly embraced. I am sure we all know that when you look at a younger subset of individuals, Rushel’s actions are unfortunately even more rare.

WOW..I suppose all the “high-horses”, as it was put by pghFred, on this board never touched a member of the opposite sex until they were 30 years old and married. I am sure you are all perfect in every aspect of their lives and never did anything wrong or that they regret.

Good of you Rushel. Keep your head on straight and you will succeed.

Comment by BCPITT 06.13.12 @ 10:09 am

BC – I didn’t mean to infer folks here were the ‘high horses’, I meant they must be here since there are a lot of posts from atop said horses.

And I do agree with your post.

Comment by pghFred 06.13.12 @ 10:17 am

pghFred..I know what you mean. I meant to infer the same thing and I apologize if it came off in any other manner.

The only reason this need concern us as Pitt fans is that Rushel will be all that more driven to the NFL when he is eligible, but he will not be the first OR the last collegiate athlete to pursue a professional career to better provide for his family.

As far as “improper benefits” are concerned – I think that is on the coach and staff to ensure that they keep a clean program and teach and train ALL of the kids on the team about the pitfalls and potential major consequences for accepting “rewards”. I am sure most of the kids at and around Pitt are fully aware of Terrelle Pryor and his situation(some probably know him on a personal level) – decent learning lesson close enough to home for these kids where it may leave more of an impression on them than if it happened to “John Doe” at USC.

Comment by BCPITT 06.13.12 @ 12:01 pm

bc – at least he’ll have 3 years here before he can go to the NFL. If he goes after his JR season, that should mean he had at least ONE great season at Pitt.

Improper benefits may be tempting, but Pitt has not had issues in this area (at least to my knowledge). Hopefully that will continue.

Comment by pghFred 06.13.12 @ 12:16 pm

“major red flag”….Wow! Well Rev. George, seems some of the posters here would allow their condemnation of this young man to be so great that they cannot even see the light of redemption in his current circumstance…Dear Mr. Shell its true, your children are going to affect your life in many ways. They will take away all of your free time. They will be a drain on what little resouces you have. They will make you laugh out loud. They will make you angry. They will make you cry. As children, you will be larger than life to them. They will look to you when they are troubled. They will love you and their mother. They will be your greatest treasure in this life. In other words, parenting is hard, surely harder for very young people, but difficult at any age. But parenting is also the most rewarding thing that a human being can do. The bottom line is that you are doing the right things, investing time and attention in your children. Please do not let negative people change your course…No Jaimz, I am not endorsing teen pregnancy. I am simply pointing out that parenthood is not a death sentence. Far from it…it is one of life’s greatest journeys. Maybe it is not for all, but it is one heck of a ride!

Comment by HbgFrank 06.13.12 @ 12:52 pm

what I have observed from the posters of this site is that, for the most part, they are judgemental, unforgiving, demanding, negative and, at times, holier-than-thou (and I am not referring to Rev George here)… but then again, this is a means of providing anonymous opinions of subjects they are passionate about. Nonetheless, I would like to see a more positive tone here.

Comment by wbb 06.13.12 @ 1:23 pm

Who said this was an unplanned pregnancy? Sounds like Shell wanted to have kids.

Comment by Tony C 06.13.12 @ 2:07 pm

Sporting News rates PC as the #7 new coach – predicts the team the team will start 1-2 and by the Louisville game will be in full swing.

Comment by markp 06.13.12 @ 2:23 pm

For a second wbb, I thought you were describing Congress.

Comment by TX Panther 06.13.12 @ 3:46 pm

So, when the kids are hungry, need clothes, gas bill is due, how does the coaching staff prevent Shell from taking that cash advance that a runner is waving at him. Remember scholarship athletes aren’t allowed to work during the school year. Who is supporting these kids? Again, his willingness to take responsibility should be lauded. The fact that he got himself into this predicament shouldn’t be ignored.

Comment by Jaimz 06.13.12 @ 4:39 pm

@wbb and Tony C, I agree with you about “mistakes” Tony,who knows if he wanted to have kids out of wedlock or not. Whats to note here is that Shell is taking responsibility for his actions and that my friends is the proper thing to do in our current throw away mentality society. Now on with the more positive tone as requested by wbb. Twins is twice as good as just a single baby! Way to knock it out of the park Rushel. Hope you have a great career at Pitt and into the NFL. You’re going to need that NFL contract to take care of that family. For some reason daughters really learn how to effectively suck the bills out of your wallet much better than sons do. At least that’s been my experience.

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.13.12 @ 5:10 pm

Rushel Shell appears to be accepting the consequences of his actions. That makes him more of a man than Todd Graham will ever be.

Comment by Houston Panther 06.13.12 @ 5:17 pm

Jaimz, an earlier article states that schools offered to “help” him with the situation with daycare and stuff. He chose not to go that route. He’s from Pittsburgh and has family who can help. It’s none of our business anyways and this really shouldn’t be a discussion. It’s pure speculation regarding improper benefits and is wee bit premature. Here’s a link to the article BTW:

link to

Comment by Tossing Thabeets 06.13.12 @ 7:55 pm

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to find,,, so just….. run Rushel, run, and of course,,, Hail to Pitt!

Comment by Dr. Tom 06.13.12 @ 8:08 pm

thank you tossing thabeets. htp. rah.

Comment by pittkeith 06.13.12 @ 9:09 pm


Comment by FRANKCAN 06.14.12 @ 12:11 am

Jamiz – that is some pretty heavy condemnation for a kid you don’t even know. While it is somewhat ironic that kudos are given to someone for doing just what they should do the bald truth is that most kids Shell’s age run away like their pants are on fire.

Children without a father present in the family is epidemic now and he’s actually bucking the trend. But Shell and his girlfriend were together for four years before the pregnancy and while the babies were unplanned his reaction to the news couldn’t have been handled better:

“When it came back positive, she immediately called Rushel. He was shocked. She was terrified. He asked what she wanted to do. “He could tell how upset I was, so he got real calm in a hurry,” says Marissa. “He told me that no matter what, we would get through it.”

“… so he got calm in a hurry…” That is maturity Jamiz and maturity is a guy Shell’s age is sadly lacking in most cases.

There is no “red flag” here, none at all, quite the opposite in fact. There is proof that this young man has shouldered an unexpected responsibility in just the right way, has maintained his academics well enough to be admitted into PITT and to play on the football team – all the while racking up records galore during his HS playing days – and he is financially supporting his women and his children the best he can.

Both Shell and Ms Pursley have parents in the area so that temptation of illicit finances you predict isn’t threatening or necessary.

While having unplanned children isn’t an ideal situation it seems to me that Rushel Shell’s reaction to it has been ideal and really, that’s about all one can ask for once it happens, isn’t it?

Comment by Reed 06.15.12 @ 9:12 am

^^^ Obviously I meant “woman” vice “women” (which would open up a new can of moral worms).

Comment by Reed 06.15.12 @ 5:46 pm

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