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.

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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