June 24, 2013

A Busy Weekend

Filed under: Football,Players,Recruiting,Transfer — Chas @ 7:02 am

Sorry everyone. It was my daughter’s birthday and part of her birthday wish was that I would take the weekend off from the computer. Well timed, little girl. Well timed.

As if the recruiting stuff wasn’t enough, there is the start of the basketball summer league tonight. But what the hell, let’s start the week weird with the Rushel Shell story.

Running back Rushel Shell has decided not to transfer to UCLA because he wants to remain close to his Pennsylvania home, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak on the subject.

Shell announced in April that he intended to come to UCLA. He had spent one season at Pittsburgh, where he gained 614 yards rushing.

But Shell, who has twin daughters living in Pennsylvania, decided the distance was too great. He hopes to rejoin the Pittsburgh team.

But does Pitt and Coach Paul Chryst want him back? Can they trust him? Could he play this season?

The answer to the first and second questions appear to be unknown right now.

He would have had to leave for Los Angeles this weekend for summer classes there, which begin today. Instead, he has decided to try to stay closer to home.

At this point, the talks have been informal and it’s unclear whether Pitt’s coaching staff would allow Shell to return. Panthers coach Paul Chryst would have to weigh the pros and cons of welcoming back a player who, while supremely talented, left the team in spring practices.

Those are big, big issues. Shell has been good at saying the right things. But following through on them. Actually putting in the work before playing the games. It has only become a bigger question.

I don’t have a great answer to this. If we are talking about Chryst changing the culture at Pitt football. And Chryst has maintained that he wants players that want to be at Pitt, then it doesn’t seem possible to just let Shell come right back to the team. He quit the team. He felt that he didn’t trust the coaches, and now that trust is broken on both sides. How is there time to rebuild that trust?

Going against that is the fact that Shell, despite being a father is still an immature kid. He made what could be considered a rash and emotional decision that he didn’t fully understand the ramifications of until the time of departure was staring him right in the face. At that point the gravity of the decision came down fully on him.

It’s easy to say that he made his bed, now he has to lie in it. Go to UCLA. You can’t come back. But it isn’t just him. It’s his daughters. As a father, I can’t ignore Shell’s place in their life.

And yes, there is the cold reality of the gridiron. It would appear that Shell would be able to come back to Pitt and play this very year if he and the coaching staff wanted it.

Luckily one of the less commonly used transfer exceptions covers all three. Bylaw, the Return to Original Institution Without Participation or With Minimal Participation Exception says that a student-athlete can play immediately after a transfer if:


The student transfers to a second four-year collegiate institution, does not compete at the second institution and does not engage in other countable athletically related activities in the involved sport at the second institution beyond a 14-consecutive-day period and returns to the original institution. The 14-consecutive-day period begins with the date on which the student-athlete first engages in any countable athletically related activity (see Bylaw 17.02.1). A student may use this exception even if he or she has an unfulfilled residence requirement at the institution from which he or she is transferring.

This exception is available to athletes in any sport. Unlike the one-time transfer exception, an athlete can use it no matter how many times they have transfer in the past.

Shell hasn’t even started taking classes at UCLA, so under NCAA rules he could be right back at Pitt with no requirement by the NCAA to sit out a year. There would be an issue with getting UCLA to release him from the scholarship — otherwise Shell would have to pay his own way in 2013.

As a coach, this has to be tempting. Not only from the talent he brings back to the position. But by the depth being restored there.

As it stands, Pitt cannot redshirt James Conner. And to play him at running back, despite most projections suggesting how much better he would be on the defensive side of the ball. Potentially wasting a year of development of a player.

It doesn’t feel like there are any good choices here.

Im on the record saying he will be back, playing vs FSU.

Comment by yup 06.24.13 @ 7:18 am

Yes there is one good choice: let Shell come back, with stipulations to prove to HCPC and the team that this whole thing wasn’t just a scam to get out of Spring workouts.

Not because we need him.

But because he’s a kid who did something ill-advised (in fact, stupid…). Just like we all did when we were kids.

Comment by Imma Man! Im 40! 06.24.13 @ 7:22 am

Exactly what in shell’s past gives anyone reason to believe he has matured?
He left Pitt. He was suspended before that. He taunted his teammates by skipping workouts and practice.
His third chance is at RMU or somewhere like that.
I’ll let Reed post his comments and not quote him but Reed puts it all together.
There isn’t an “I” in team. I don’t wish RS ill, but Pitt and the Pitt football team isn’t his whore either.

Comment by sfpitt 06.24.13 @ 7:36 am

If he wants back,
let him walkon and pay for his college.
Don’t waste an athletic scholarhip on him.

However, I wouldn’t let him back on the team. Period. Exclamation Point!
I suggest you all go back on what was written and said about Shell. He is a cancer on the team.
Chryst needs to walk his talk and not let Shell back on the team. I still don’t get the KK and Chapman decisions.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.24.13 @ 7:38 am

Reed knows the program better than any of us and said this AM that Shell didn’t play well with others on the team (I think he used stronger words!)

So, among other decision points for Chryst, I’d put the question to his teammates and let them vote him back or not.

Comment by steve1 06.24.13 @ 7:45 am

1. Best predictor of future performance is past performance. Chance of Shell straightening up and flying right – zero.
2. Some other coach could take a chance on Shell but given the challenge facing Chryst in changing culture, he would lose all credibility. Coaches overlook indiscretions all the time, but in Pitt’s situation Shell has had too many in public.
3. I don’t know what motivates Shell, but I’m frankly tired of hearing how he wants to be closer to his daughters. If he really cared he wouldn’t have quit Pitt in the first place, or would have transferred to a local school.

Comment by 66Goat 06.24.13 @ 7:45 am

I’m ambivalent about it as I expect Coach will do what he feels is best for the team first…. and Shell second.
And truth is…… if Coach produces massive OL wall that it looks like, then 5 star Shell is less needed.

Comment by mtoolmn 06.24.13 @ 7:49 am

Im torn on this..I think if they talk to him, and decide that he is committed to working on his craft and his work ethic, they should give him a shot. But in no way should they hand a spot to him, make him work for it.

Wouldn’t it be a nice story if Shell works his way back, becomes a hard worker and a kid from Hopewell has a great season on and off the field and helps turn the program around

Comment by rhyno527 06.24.13 @ 7:56 am

I will state that if we do take him back, he needs to be suspended for the first several games, at least 3. He’s on a zero tolerance policy where anything happens, he’s out the rest of the year.

Comment by Justin 06.24.13 @ 7:58 am

I posted he can only return to Pitt if he accepts medical help. He has a drug problem by accounts of him failing Pitt mandated drug testing. But the drugs mask an underlying issue. He is a user of people places and things. Thus Pitt can take the “high” road and tell hum he must go through drug and behavior therapy before he can be part of the football program. That takes the coaching decision out of things and it is now a personal choice of help to be a better person before he can be a better football player, team mate and contributor.

Comment by chethejet 06.24.13 @ 8:23 am

Robert Morris is Divison 1 FCS and Shell would not have to sit out a transfer year. It is also just a Bubba Watson 3 Wood from where he lives, so his girlfriend (with the twins) can pick him up after practice, so he wouldn’t get distracted on the ride home.

I believe this would be the best scenario for all.

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 8:37 am

There is a bible story about this.

Prodigal son, anyone?

Comment by Benzene 06.24.13 @ 8:46 am

Honor his scholarship for academics. Pitt please take the high road. The high road is education and not football.

He can come back as a student. He can go to class workout and see his kids.

If he proves over the 13 academic year he can add football to his vast responsibilities the coach can

decide if he can play football at Pitt.

Comment by kman 06.24.13 @ 8:47 am

kman that is probably the best response to the situation yet

Comment by pitt 2015 06.24.13 @ 8:54 am

I agree with Steve1, if the coach has not already ruled him out for things we don’t know about, let the players vote. But he must receive a 90% approval rating and running backs must abstain from the vote.

If they don’t want him as a teammate, then he is no good to us. There is no I in team.

Most people deserve a second chance, but I have the feeling that his bridge is burnt.

Comment by gc 06.24.13 @ 8:57 am

Oh and if they do let him back it’s with zero tolerance, one misstep and he is off the team.

Comment by gc 06.24.13 @ 9:01 am

Tough call on Shell. On one hand bringing back Shell goes against what PC is trying to do in regards to cleaning up the locker room. On the other hand, Shell is a talent and can help Pitt NOW.

IMO, PC should:

1. Address the team. Have a back and forth discussion and try to come to a consensous about whether to bring him back. Let the players be involved in the decision to some extent. (*However, I’m not sure if they can have contact with the team based on NCAA guidelines between now and camp).

2. Tell Shell he is coming into camp at the bottom of the depth chart. If he works and practices hard as well as stays out of trouble, he will move up the depth chart as any other player.

3. Let Shell know this is his FINAL chance at Pitt.

Comment by pghFred 06.24.13 @ 9:03 am

I think Pitt takes him back. The story continues.

Comment by Frank MD 06.24.13 @ 9:09 am

PghFred — I concur your third point. Let Shell return but make sure he understands that this is his last chance to play football at Pitt. Shell made selfish decisions because he always got away with them. This would be a life changing decision for him and his daughters. Pitt is an excellent school and first rate place to play football. Shell had a God given talent, he needs to be humble, work hard, stay on the straight and narrow path and maybe he will have a chance to play in the NFL.

If Christ gives Shell another chance, Shell should be very grateful and realize that only a classy coach would accept him back on the team a second time.

Comment by MariettaMike 06.24.13 @ 9:24 am

pghFred is right on. The players have to be involved. And he has to earn his way back on. If HCPC reinstates shell and the players don’t support it, that could be really bad.

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.24.13 @ 9:26 am

As I said on the previous thread, nobody knows the situation better than Chryst – and though he has not yet won me over with his on-the-field coaching ability, he has with his management skills. I guess what I am saying is that I trust Chryst to make the right decision with Shell. Whew. There, I’ve said it…

Comment by Iron Duke 06.24.13 @ 9:26 am

you just can’t walk away from a committment and then walk back into it at your convenience. i want to see the kid succeed but he is doing it the hard way. I agree with Justin. there should be a penalty for leaving camp and creating a national embarassment. he should receive counseling and be be closely monitored academically. Somebody that he looks up to should mentor him. Now is it all worth it? For his sake, his family’s and Pitt, it is worth the effort. lastly, his teammates need to concur.

Comment by barreman 06.24.13 @ 9:26 am

benzene, I siggest you look thru the previous blog here, and look at last night’s postings

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 9:27 am

Players dont vote on these things. You will divide the players on this if you do folks.
PC is the executive and this is an executive decision.

Comment by sfpitt 06.24.13 @ 9:33 am

I am back and forth on this one but I think I lean more towards the view that his FB days are done at Pitt. Too many issues – and I think those saying this is a “2nd chance” are a bit off. I agree with sfpitt that there are a lot of other local options for him for football – where he can get himself straightened out and focus on his family.
I was thinking about this scenario but don’t know how it would play out in the real world. If I’m a student (not student athlete) at Pitt and I decide I don’t feel like putting in the work of going to class and doing assignments and I fail everything in my 1st year (0 gpa), does the school allow me to come back the following year?? This is basically a parallel to Shell and Pitt football – and the more I think about it – I don’t think we want the FB player or the student in this case. I’m not being cold or hard – there are lessons that need to be learned. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be able to go to school or play FB anywhere – just not at Pitt. There are other options out there for him.

Comment by JJ 06.24.13 @ 9:35 am

When he originally left, weren’t there numerous comments made by HCPC and others referring to addition by subtraction?

Comment by longsufferingpittfan 06.24.13 @ 9:35 am

My preference is not to accept him back.

But I also think it is not an inexcusable ofense, especially if he has completed the classroom work satisfactorally.

Nonethess, he would have to understand that he has 2 strikes against him.

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 9:37 am

Agree with you sfpitt. Its PC’s team and his call…

Comment by Kenny 06.24.13 @ 9:38 am

sfPitt — Concur. It’s Chryst’s decision. Whatever the decision, it should be right for both Pitt and Shell.

Comment by MariettaMike 06.24.13 @ 9:40 am

Whatever PC decides will say a lot towards him EVER being considered for the NFL draft. NFL coaches respect Chryst’s instincts and if he won’t take another chance on him then why would any NFL GM? I truly wish Shell the best and believe that he shoud go to RMU or Cal U.

Comment by Panther Fan in Hoopieland 06.24.13 @ 9:44 am

agree, just like Jamie helps to find homes with some of the Pitt BB players who transfer, I would like to see Pitt find a suitable home for Rushell

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 9:46 am

PC should let him rejoin the team, but sit out for a year (redshirt if eligible). This would put him in no worse situation than if he had carried out the transfer and would see if he is really committed to the program.

Comment by SC Paul 06.24.13 @ 9:48 am

There are times on this blog where I wonder what some of you are drinking/smoking.

This is not one of them!

Perhaps this subject has created the best collection of posts I’ve ever read on The Blather, quoting the “Prodigal Son”, varying opinions with NO name calling, and well reasoned well thought out solutions to the Shell problem of all kinds.

66Goat – I kindly disagree with you that Shell has 0 chance of changing. He’s 19 from Aliquippa where not a lot of good advice exists. Still, you may be right.

It’s up to HCPC. I trust and will support whatever decision he makes.

Comment by Dan 72 06.24.13 @ 9:52 am

I don’t think it should be on the players to ‘vote’ on this. What I’m saying is there needs to be some open discussion with the team about the situation. As I stated, the team should be involved in the decision, TO SOME EXTENT.

PC can make his case to the team with reasons why he will/won’t allow Shell to come back to Pitt. Then get some feedback. Get a buy-in one way or another. But ultimately, PC needs to make the decision.

Comment by pghFred 06.24.13 @ 9:57 am

Of course you allow him to come back… UNLESS… Chryst and his staff are so convinced Shell is truly a “Bad Apple” that will poison the positive mood that seems to have taken over the team since his departure.

Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with thinking Shell is so good. I’m on the record clearing saying otherwise. At best, a productive college running back along the lines of a Maurice Clarett.

But Shell is 19 years old and he did choose Pitt over the many other offers he had coming out of high school. If deserving in the eyes of the coaches, just as with the “prodigal son” he should be welcomed back into the fold… however, only under the strictest of conditions.

Chryst needs to explain to Shell that he’s rejoining the team with “two strikes” against him. In effect, a probation where NOTHING will be tolerated.

Time for Rushel to learn the importance of “team” over “me”… just as he may be in the process of learning with his two little girls.

Comment by PittofDreams 06.24.13 @ 9:58 am

Regarding the “player’s vote” — if something like this happened, I’m guessing it would be
“Captains/Seniors Vote”… I think if Chryst and the Seniors/Captains are satisfied with his apology we may see a Redshirt year in which Rushell attempts to prove to everyone he has changed, while on a zero-tolerance policy.

That being said, deep down inside, I just don’t see him being with this team again.

Someone above emntioned Cal U. With their recent string of success with D1 transfers, and getting players drafted, I think that is where he winds up.

Comment by Big Bill 06.24.13 @ 10:03 am

My guess is PC does not welcome him back to PITT but doubtful he turns his back on the young man. May help him find a more suitable school w/in the area. I’m sure RS is only looking for a 1yr deal w/the hopes of an NFL career???

Comment by DC33 06.24.13 @ 10:06 am

I don’t think it can be a 1 year thing, DC. I thought the rule was that you could not be drafted until 3 years after your high school graduating class. Unless that rule has changed.

Comment by Big Bill 06.24.13 @ 10:13 am

I don’t think UCLA has to release him from his schollie….b/c he never enrolled at UCLA

So in essence, he just left Pitt but his ship is still available at Pitt and has not been transferred to UCLA.

That said, I say let him play. we are only getting him for a few seasons and we need the depth. Its only 1 ship and yes – I get it – it may set a bad precedence for kids wishing to transfer – but sometimes, you have to take risks.

I think he’s a risk worth taking one last time.

Comment by curtismartinfan 06.24.13 @ 10:14 am

HCPC should play the roll of Pontius Pilot. Let his teammates decide and then wash your hands.

Comment by Todd Gack 06.24.13 @ 10:20 am

For talent sake, I hope the team votes yes.

Comment by Todd Gack 06.24.13 @ 10:23 am

Interesting and very odd for sure.

Here is my take.

Kids are going to make mistake and yes big mistakes. Part of a coaches job is to mentor kids through mistakes. Shell is making tons of mistakes but PC’s ultimately job is to mentor him (doesn’t mean that he lets him back in)

I would do the the following
1) Allow the team to take a vote after Shell appeals to the team
2) Suspend him for several games if not the entire season to allow him to get his mind together
3) place him last on the depth chart and make him earn his time on the field through action off the field and in practice

PC and PITT can come out looking good on this one.

Oh, one last thing. I would make a call to McKenzie and get a feel for what his intentions are as it relates to coming to PITT and having Shell around.

Shell needs a real mentor and perhaps PC is that guys (if he cares and he should).

Comment by Pitt Fan In Atlanta 06.24.13 @ 10:30 am

For team unity sake, I would say no.

Comment by gdodson 06.24.13 @ 10:35 am

It may be the coaches decision, but if the players don’t want him back, the coach loses the team.

It may not be a democracy, but the coach can’t be a dictator either.

We are always looking for team leadership, the players also need to police themselves and take responsibility for their collective actions.

This kid turned his back on the school, his coaches, but most importantly on his teammates.

That is why they have to have a say on what happens.

If he was an average player, would there be a decision? Rhetoric question. It is only because he has star potential. It is all a question of risk vs reward.

I say he is not worth the risk. But I am not the coach, he is the one that looks like an idiot if Shell comes back and shits the bed once again.

Comment by gc 06.24.13 @ 10:44 am

Why not allow him back but make him Redshirt and be the water boy?

Comment by tedsptman 06.24.13 @ 10:48 am

Did he continue to attend classes after his transfer announcement? If he did and is in solid academic standing, I think I would give him a chance on a very short rope. If he did not, how could he be eligible here or anywhere else.
This kid has enough talent to go a long way, but he also has the opportunity to become another major flop, he is right on the border and needs to start doing things the right way.

Comment by Jimbo 06.24.13 @ 10:58 am

I wonder what Pat Bostick would have to say about this?

Comment by Atlanta Panther 06.24.13 @ 11:02 am

who cares… if he comes back or not it will in no way impact my life. Pitt will still suck one way or the other.

Comment by Coach Ditka 06.24.13 @ 11:07 am

I believe he left Pitt and never completed the spring semester. So it would again be a case of the kid leaving the school entirely and then re-enrolling…unusual yes indeed….impossible…no

Comment by curtismartinfan 06.24.13 @ 11:26 am

As a retired HumanResource mgr, itmay be tough but once things go this far with valuable employees ihave had managers who wanted to bring ex employees back because they were indespesible.45 yrs exp ando i learned a long time ago two expressions that sum it up organizationally 1.Don’t let the door smack your rear going out. 2.NO ONE is indispensable.This would be bad for the team.We probably lost at least one running back recruit this year because schell was the heir apparent. You can kiss Mckenzie goodby in the next class. Chrysts efforts last year to straighten schell out(starting with the opening game suspension) did a lot.Other playersin the future will not value their status as a solid citizen of the team. Larry 60

Comment by Lawrence garman 06.24.13 @ 11:28 am

curtismartinfan, I would think he would have had to complete the spring term for him to be eleibible at UCLA .. but not sure

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 11:40 am

funny I’m ‘eligible’ for anything the way I type

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 11:41 am

“If I’m a student (not student athlete) at Pitt and I decide I don’t feel like putting in the work of going to class and doing assignments and I fail everything in my 1st year (0 gpa), does the school allow me to come back the following year??” JJ

Yes, the student can come back and will be on the Dean’s Desk. Screw up again and you are gone. Give Shell another chance. Just 1.

Comment by Caw Miller 06.24.13 @ 11:51 am

Is it me or is Pitt football turning into:

‘As the World Turns’

cue up the music.

RS is the personification of dysfunctional America today . A product of a most bizzare society that is now reveled and glorified on TV as main stream society.

This kid doesn’t have a father that’s around(involved in his life) correct ?

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 12:01 pm

Emel – 2 Things…

1. I(don’t want to jinx it but the Pirates are starting to beat quality teams, not just the losers like Astro’s etc. I’m starting to believe.

2. Shell isn’t even that good so why mess up all Chryst is trying to do and allow him back. The problem with America is there is no accountability. Teach the kid a lesson that may help him in his life.

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 12:11 pm

I just shake my head reading some of these comments.
Some of you must still be in college or in your 20’s.

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.24.13 @ 12:11 pm

As many have said but it still bears repeating, Shell would not be receiving a second chance. He’d be getting chance 3 or 4 at least.

Comment by Justin 06.24.13 @ 12:13 pm

“Shell isn’t that good?”

Did I actually read that here? He is the perfect back for Chryst’s system. Straight ahead hole hitting runner with power and speed. Can catch out of the backfield and a good blocker…

My biggest problem with the whole “comeback” thing is that if this was a 3rd team cornerback, no one would care.

Something wrong with our pedestal??

Comment by Dan 72 06.24.13 @ 12:31 pm

I love all these comments about kids deserving a second chance…the guy was already suspended once last year – opening day!

So, are you really asking for a second chance… or asking for a 13th or 25th chance and calling it a second chance, but you REALLY mean it THIS time?!

Comment by JLawrence 06.24.13 @ 12:38 pm

I agree with Upittbaseball. Take responsibility for your actions. Too much entitlement in today’s society. He screwed up – if he wants to change himself and make the right choices now, that is great and I hope that is the case. But that doesn’t mean Pitt should welcome him back. There are other options, plenty of which could help him acheive his goals. As captain of the ship, PC has to do what is best for the team as a whole. That would be to assist RS in finding a good fit to him and help get him pointed in the right direction elsewhere.

Comment by JJ 06.24.13 @ 12:42 pm

Dan 72 – Show me what he did last year IN COLLLEGE not HIGH SCHOOL that showed he was a stud? Was he all-Big East?

Here is his stats.. 4 TD’s and he broke 100 yards once in his freshman year.

link to

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 12:48 pm

It is fascinating that this kid’s balls are big enough to even approach Pitt. More likely he still doesn’t have a clue.

There are examples of those that finally “get it” and change their bad behavior, habits etc. but those are few and far between. It gets down to whether Chryst wants to mentor him and thinks he is worth it. And as I said before whether his teammates think he is worth it.

If he is a total cancer why not let fraud or richrod have him.

Comment by gc 06.24.13 @ 12:50 pm

On another note, no commitments for a few days, what’s up with that?

Comment by JJ 06.24.13 @ 12:55 pm

@ Upittbaseball

Wow after that ending to the Pirates game yesterday, down 6-3 entering the 9th inning, you almost have to …..start believing.

And then they almost gave it back, only to hang on with the Big Dog Grilli striking out the final Angels batter with the tying and winning runs on 2nd & 3rd.

Just an incredible game. And 16 games over .500

They are about 10 wins ahead of last year at this time.

On to Seattle ! The hell with Shell !

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 12:57 pm

Emel – 10-4. I get daily texts from my old man asking for playoff tickets and raise the jolly roger. I hope my believing doesn’t bring bad luck in July.

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 1:00 pm

Oh and I’m all about giving ppl multiple new chances. But if this kid, dissed his teammates, the coaches and PITT in general as Reed posted, there is NO WAY you can let him back on the team !

Might as well bring back Carswell & Williams and invite the heroine dealer back on campus too !

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 1:01 pm

We wrote a lot about this last night also and I’ll throw in my two cents even though most has been covered by other commenters today.

I’m not in favor of reinstating Shell for a variety of reasons the main one being that this makes a situation ripe for discontent among the rest of the team. Shell didn’t just explode one day and leave the team. He had been setting this in motion from the end of the season, through not attending the voluntary workouts when every other player did if they could, through spring training when he played chicken with the PITT staff and Chryst didn’t blink.

Let’s don’t forget that Shell met with Chryst a full three days after Shell first mentioned leaving the team and a full day before he actually did it. So it was certainly planned on his part, it took time to unfold and he could have put the brakes on at any point but chose not too. That doesn’t show immaturity, that would a screaming fit and flight – it screams he was doing exactly what he planned to do.

If we are to believe that he was just immature then what is the deal with being suspended before the opener, benched for complete games during the season and not participating 100% at spring drills? That would be the eight months he had to grow up and make better decisions but he didn’t do that. Perhaps he’s just built in that selfish way. But so many – and I’ll say

Forget about our depth chart at the RB position. It certainly isn’t worth the trouble it would cause and we really have no idea of how talented and productive Shell can be even if he were to return. PITT fans are being way too influenced by what Shell did in HS and not what he’s done so far in college – which was as a decent back would produce at best. There a chance that Bennett can be as good or better as a starter also, we just don’t know.

I believe that Paul Chryst has to stick with what he has been publicly stating for over a year… that he wants players who want to be at PITT. Shell didn’t come running back to PITT because he loves PITT. He did it because it didn’t work out elsewhere and we are his default school. In reality in the spring he wanted to go to Arizona, ASU and UCLA before playing for PITT. Get that? He was wanting to play for a years long rival coach in Rich Rodriguez or a reviled HC in Todd Graham.

Shell doesn’t give one crap about PITT as an institution, far from it – he’s showed pretty much nothing but disdain for the school, the football program and his teammates through his words and actions over the last year. So I don’t think Chryst goes for him but who knows what actually will happen in college football?

Comment by Reed 06.24.13 @ 1:11 pm

After the game yesterday, we went to see the new movie ….World War Z.

The word is… not bother with it.
Redbox material !

Piss poor for a zombie movie. (being born in Pittsburgh (Romero) makes us Zombie movie connoisseurs)

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 1:11 pm

Unless PC definitively says “no”, now may be the perfect time to let Shell back on the team. PC would have to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with Rushel spelling out exactly what it means to be on a team, what PC expects for future actions from Rushel and all around setting conditions.

Since coaches are not allowed to conduct team meetings or activities from the end of spring drills to preseason camp, a team vote could not be held now. But the conditioning coach is allowed contact with the players.

I am not sure of how PITT conducts there off season(summer) conditioning drills. At South Carolina, they set up teams and have a summer team captains. These captains are to push all team members to attend and record progress with the help of the conditioning coach. These teams are small – eight to twelve team members. USC also at beginning of preseason gives recognition and awards to the best teams and players

Since Rushel supposedly doesn’t like to train, this would show his dedication and allow at least a small group of team mates to see if some maturity is happening. You know that word would get out of his dedication.

PC could still have a team vote at beginning of preseason camp for the final verdict.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 06.24.13 @ 1:31 pm

Emel / Reed – I agree….His College Stats are not anything to ever get excited about.

World War Z – Was going to go see it but not now. Thanks for saving me $40

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 1:32 pm

Reed, I agree

But as I wrote above, I would like to see Pitt assist Shell in finding a school for him to play at .. whether it be something like Cal u of PA, RMU or even WVU. Heck, as long as it isn’t a future Pitt opponent, I really don’t care where he ends up .. and I even wish him well

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 1:33 pm

I agree with everything you said.
Chryst better get a press release out on the situation because not only will this turn off alumni and donors, but will turnoff potential high level recruits. (McKenzie)

Comment by Pitt.Dan83 06.24.13 @ 1:36 pm

Yinz surprise me. Of 68 comments here, none positive about Shell’s finally owning up to responsibility for his babies.

Please put sports in perspective.

Comment by steve1 06.24.13 @ 1:43 pm

If you remember your Sunday School lesson the prodigal son realized he had squandered all of his possessions and potential. Broken, he humbly started to make his way back home in hope that his father would allow him to stay as a servant/slave. Clearly his heart was now in the right place. His father was overly thrilled to see his son returning from a distance, not even realizing the son was contrite and full of sorrow for his foolishness. Does this describe Shell? Stay tuned for the further adventures of the prodigal hometown son.

Comment by pittman4ever 06.24.13 @ 1:44 pm

After a few years of listening to Classic Rock radio, I never wanted to listen to Led Zeppelin or Lynyrd Skinner again.

Now, after all of the superhero and post-apocalyptic movies, I find myself watching the black and whites on Turner Classic Movies more and more … and Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ now seems like a classic in the category of Casablanca or Duck Soup

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 1:46 pm

He came back because he was scared to be away from home and people telling him he is great. If this was about his kids and family do you really think he would even of considered leaving Pitt? This is about a scared 19 year old FINALLY having to face the music and grow up. In California he wouldn’t have been anything special. He is a hometown kid and being scared of not being the focus is what is making him change his tune.

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 2:10 pm

wbb, you crack me up. I saw Buddy Guy with a kid named Quinn Sullivan (14 years old), Saturday night. Check the kid out on youtube. If you are a fan of Blues Guitar try to see Buddy Guy one more time, he is 76 and better than ever.

Reed, I agree, the prudent and easiest thing to do is to just say no, apologies to Nancy Reagan. At least hear the kid out and give him good advice.

I believe I wrote that he would get homesick and wouldn’t last in LA. Is his latest another act of a spoiled, coddled, immature kid or has the light bulb finally turned on? Stay tuned.

Comment by gc 06.24.13 @ 2:15 pm

gc, saw Buddy Guy a couple times … does he still play the polka dot Fender? (never heard of Quinn Sullivan though)

Last time I remember seeing Guy was at Metropol, so you know how long ago that was.

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 2:21 pm

Unless you’ve worked with people who have grown up in a very disadvantaged environment, it’s hard to understand their outlook on work. They think it’s perfectly ok to show up once in while, when the mood strikes, but not everyday. They follow the rules most of the time, but not all of the time. Commitment is a totally foreign concept – no one ever demonstrated commitment to them, no role models. Another sit down with Shell, after a year of trying, will probably have little chance of success. Yet commitment is the one thing Christ demands. The whole situation is so sad. As the Stadium Turns.

Comment by 66Goat 06.24.13 @ 2:24 pm

forgot to tell you, I was Buddy Guy’s Legends club in Chicago about 6 yerars ago .. his old club, guess there is a new one now. Guy wans’t there but still had a good time.

Knocked off 2 things I wanted to in one day — went to Wrigley for an afternnon game, and went Legends that evening.

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 2:27 pm

*meant Chryst.

Comment by 66Goat 06.24.13 @ 2:28 pm

sounds like academics may be the key,

Comment by paul shannon 06.24.13 @ 2:39 pm

In other news Chad Varga in talks with Jaime Dixon to return to Pitt Basketball. Wouldn’t surprise with the circus we have run by Smug Steve.

Comment by Upittbaseball 06.24.13 @ 2:44 pm

All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put the egghead Shell back together again. At what point does he begin to suffer consequences for behaving like a spoiled child. I prefer they tell him no thank you we prefer others, or at least let him sweat for a couple weeks while we weigh our options.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 06.24.13 @ 2:45 pm

wbb – Also got to Legends a few times along with all the other jazz clubs in Chitown. But every time I see Wrigley on TV in the afternoon, it reminds me of the almost sacred afternoon I spent there in the bleachers, in my suit and tie (took the tie off) watching the Cubbies. Cannot remember who they even played.

Congrats to you for eliminating one of your bucket list items.I have a few to go.

To all of you (elder) Pitt fans, another item that should be on your list…attending a Pitt/Navy game at Annapolis is an opportunity again this year. When the Midshipmen walk out into perfect formationa and cover the field and they play Anchor Away, a tear aways forms somewhere in my eye. Of course, then I am ready to get pissed as Pitt usually plays very poorly there.

What a privilege it was attending Pitt while Forbes Field was still standing. Sacred ground also. Reminded me of sneaking into Forbes Field to see batting practine and then sneaking back in with my student Id after the 7th inning. Played in two in two All Star games there, the highlight of my young sports life.

Comment by Dan 72 06.24.13 @ 2:51 pm

With the current sex scandal at the Naval Academy, I wonder what kind of reception they’ll receive when they’re on the road, when they walk out in formation. lol

Yes even our service academies are somewhat dysfunctional.

Sign of the times !

P.S. at the top of bucket list, is attending at Pitt home football game on campus. And I hope NOT in spirit form.

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 3:04 pm

Hey, while I was watching this link on Shell, which is OK, the next video to come up was an interview with Chryst’s nephew who just finished some camp out west… insightful interview. 4 finalists are Stanford, USC, Alabama, and Pitt… does seem that Pitt is in there to throw his uncle a bone right now but who knows… sounds like Stanford to me when you listen to him right now, but his recruiting process will be open till the end as well.

link to

Comment by Pittscript 06.24.13 @ 3:07 pm

True it is not reasonable to conclude that Shell will have a stellar college career based on high school performance; but it is also not reasonable to conclude he won’t based solely on his Frosh stats. Many backs have done less as freshmen and gone on to great success.

I think what is really being said is that based on his poor work ethic and attitude to date, there is little reason to suspect he will make the improvements necessary to achieve top tier success at the college level. That’s a valid argument.

Comment by Iron Duke 06.24.13 @ 3:11 pm

Dan 72, was at Fenway also but not orig Yankee Stadium.

Been to Annapolis but not for FB game — still loved it.

1st pro game I ever saw was at Forbes –saw Jimmy Brown play

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 3:13 pm

Vanilla thunder???

Comment by Dan 06.24.13 @ 3:17 pm

I wrote when Schell left that I thought it had to do more with him being 19 and attempting to escape the responsibilities of having a family with 2 girls. If that is the case and it was simply my assumption (running from his responsiblities)rather than playing for Pitt then I say he has taken a big step toward maturity (something I rarely showed at 19)and no question welcome him back.
The only barrier I see to barring him from the team is if he had problems with the coaching staff that could not be resolved.
Although I do not know the ramifications of being on an athletic scholarship but it is not unusual for any student especially early in their academic career to take off a semester to determine if college is the path they really want.

Comment by pittisit 06.24.13 @ 3:20 pm

Well that was fun for awhile

link to

Comment by steve1 06.24.13 @ 3:21 pm

According to the PG a few minutes ago the coaching staff told Shell thanks but no thanks – they’re not taking him back.

Comment by JLE 06.24.13 @ 3:22 pm

Again, while I applaud the decision, I wish Shell well … I really do

Comment by wbb 06.24.13 @ 3:25 pm

Dan72, I have seen some incredible halftime shows and always loved the academy teams. Texas AM Aggie Band at Heinz field was an amazing show and every bit as entertaining as the game was. I go to high school games Friday nights in the fall. Many of the high schools no longer have marching bands. They have this new entity called a show band and it is really hard for an older fan like me to enjoy. Among the first games I remember seeing- Dallas Cowboys and Bob Hayes (fastest man on earth and invented the spike) at Pitt Stadium playing the Steelers.

Comment by spiritofsection 22 06.24.13 @ 3:35 pm

I think Chryst had his hands tied. He is worrking to establish a culture without reproach at Pitt and whether Schell was really a disciplinary problem or a confused 19 year old in the eyes of those close to the program he was tainted.
Certainly the coaches statement of the other 2 backs combined being able to match Schell’s productivity was “coach speack.” If Savage and Boyd, and Street can bring a long lost passing game to Pitt, the coach knows but has no choice he is going to be plaing with half a loaf.
Here’s hoping somehow he can get his nephew and Mckenzie for 2014. It never hurts to dream.

Comment by pittisit 06.24.13 @ 3:39 pm

Dan 72, THANKS
you brought back many memories for me with Forbes Field on the Pitt campus. I had a great view into Forbes from my perch in Rm. 2020 Tower B. Remember Bimbo’s, Gustine’s and Wohlfarth’s. The O seems to have been there as long as the Cathedral.

Comment by barreman 06.24.13 @ 3:40 pm

EMEL – Agreed, the very top of the list…Attending a game on Pitt’s campus, while still on this earth. Next to that, I would not mind seeing Pederson perp walked out the door for having an affair with a cheer leader…ala Jackie Sherrill.

On Shell, no problem with the decision. Wish him the best.

Comment by Dan 72 06.24.13 @ 3:44 pm

barreman, not Chi Chi Quinques across the street from Forbes?

Great meatballs Parmesan and Buds for anyone tall enough to belly up to the bar.

Comment by steve1 06.24.13 @ 3:52 pm

I just returned from a vacation in Europe and WHAM, BAM WOWEE what a time to be away from Pittlandia.

I believe that the decision to cut all ties with Shell is the only choice that could be made. In fact, I would call this a seminal moment in modern Pitt athletics.

If the University is to set a standard for excellence in the classroom and in athletics it would be almost laughable if Shell was allowed to return. The message has been sent to all Pitt students regardless of age if you are enrolled in the University you are expected to conduct yourself as an adult.

Mr. Shell had way too many negative incidents to warrant any consideration for forgiveness. The Pitt Football program should stand for excellence and commitment to goals that are worthy of achieving. Mr. Shell needs to mature in another environment. OUR RECRUITING SHOULD CONTINUE TO IMPROVE….parents of potential Pitt athletes have been given the signal that their sons and daughters will be joining an athletic program that does not have a double standard.

Comment by isnore 06.24.13 @ 3:53 pm

I’m quite disappointed that,if true, the coaching staff, “won’t consider taking Shall back”. Whatever happened to giving a person another chance? The decision, IF ACCURATE, goes against every aspect of my faith. As a cleric, I have advocated for grace in Practically, every situation. The best to Rushell and his family on and off the gridiron. Rev. George from Columbus.

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 06.24.13 @ 3:56 pm

shell should go to RMU that is nice and close
to home.
or Duquesine they both play football he can take a bus to both.

Comment by FRANKCAN 06.24.13 @ 3:59 pm

I was blowing back and forth on this until Reed’s summary clarified the pros/cons… that his actions were systematic over time.

This continues to help Chryst prove his approach… to current players, as well as recruits…

… and oh, now no one can use Shell leaving against Chryst… because the kid wanted to come back!!

Real credibility builder that he is not taking special interest in kids who are potentially NFL caliber… and not as someone said above,… a third string DB…

Comment by Pittscript 06.24.13 @ 4:11 pm

Instead, he was given “time away from football” at spring practices, and ultimately decided to transfer

Read more: link to

Well he can continue to get “time away from football”.

Great decision by PC not to be conned, yet again by this kid.

Fool me once shame on you…..fool me twice….

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 4:35 pm

As Stan used to say to Ollie, “Well, that’s that.”

Comment by Scott 78 06.24.13 @ 4:37 pm

@George Mehaffey

How many chances should a person get? I do feel men this age should be given a second chance however this isn’t a second chance. The guy had more than a few issues and if I recall blasted his team and coach on the way out. In addition, no one really knows what happen before he decided to transfer. I was also leaning towards giving him another chance but after stepping back and thinking about it I was feeling that way because I want Pitt to win and have 5 star running backs on the squad. What I didn’t think about is how Shell turned his back on the team and coaches when he left and how he did it. There are 95 other men on that team bust their butts and doing the right thing. There is no way Shell should be rewarded for how he played this out.

Comment by Shawn 06.24.13 @ 4:40 pm


Welcome back to Zombieland and it was more than a noteworthy first post back. Excellent !

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 4:41 pm

@ Shawn

I too had the first reaction of leaving him come back like you. Mainly because of like you said, wanting PITT to win big again and of course you like to give ppl the benefit of the doubt. That was purely a selfish reason on my part (Pitt winning big again) and didn’t take into account what leaving this obvious ‘poison pill’ back onto the squad could do to counter all the things PC has put into place, to this point, to “right” the PITT ship.

After reading and remembering all the events that have taken place(nicely laid out by our bro Reed) in less than a year with this kid, one has to embrace the decision reached by PC today.

And back to the selfish side for a moment and wanting PITT to win big again, I think Isaac Bennett can be a 1000 yard rusher the next several years and is much more of the Home Run threat to breakoff big runs to boot.

Comment by EMel 06.24.13 @ 4:52 pm

@ EMel,

I think Bennett will be good and I also think this will help in the recruitment of Shai McKenzie. To be honest I think any RB that has an offer from Pitt would be crazy to turn it down right now. Pitt’s line is going to be very good in 2 years and will stay that way for a good while. As far as Shell I hope he learns from this and becomes a better man. He has all the talent in the world but without hard work he will not go anywhere. I hope he realizes this and I really do wish him the best!

Comment by Shawn 06.24.13 @ 5:49 pm

@rev George
Shell’s second chance came and went two chances ago. I’m not one to speak of your faith, but mine is not off limits. There are apprx 90 other young men who have a stake in this. Each of them have repeadtedly been mistreated by RS. In my faith, one is accountable to others and earthly consequences are to be expected. My world is not perfect. Sometimes lessons are tough. I don’t wish RS ill, but nor will I allow him to continue to mistreat others. Two months ago, he was ready to ditch his twins for the left coast. The BEST thing that can happen to RS is to grow up. Seems he has never had to work for much beyond his God given athletic ability. Perhaps he ought to use his God given brain and soul. Go to school at night and get a job perhaps.
I suspect Pitt is doing him a big favor by not babying him anymore. The mother of his twins already has two babies in the house: a third the size of a man is too much to ask anyone to burden.

Comment by Sfpitt 06.24.13 @ 6:38 pm

Sfpitt – very well-stated. Wish I had written that.

Comment by JLawrence 06.25.13 @ 8:38 am

I’ve noticed that a number of people, including members of the media are totally overlooking the fact that HCPC had almost a year of day-in, day-out contact with Shell. Amazing.

Comment by JLawrence 06.25.13 @ 8:42 am

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