MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former four-star running back Rushel Shell could become a rarity by seeing both sides of the Backyard Brawl.

After an encouraging freshman season at Pitt—and a U-turn this summer at UCLA—the transfer is reportedly considering West Virginia, Ohio State and Kentucky as his next destination. But would WVU extend a scholarship offer to a player Pitt coach Paul Chryst declined to allow back on the team?

“There’s interest,” said a source within the Mountaineers’ program.

Shell’s mother, Toni Zuccaro, told two Pittsburgh newspapers her son was attempting to schedule a visit to Morgantown next week. He previously visited WVU in high school when the Mountaineers were among the countless BCS programs pursuing him.

After setting the Pennsylvania career rushing mark with 9,078 yards at Hopewell High, Shell chose Pitt—a signing pitched as a major haul for a program seeking a return to its glory days of three decades ago.

Despite being suspended for the 2012 opener in which Pitt lost to Youngstown State 31-17, Shell put together a solid freshman campaign with 641 yards rushing and four touchdowns. His breakout performance was a 157-yard performance in a 35-17 upset win over Virginia Tech.

Shell’s only start came in the BBVA Compass Bowl, a 38-17 loss to Ole Miss in which he carried 25 times for 79 yards.

Presuming Shell lands at a FBS school, he must sit out the upcoming season and would become eligible as a sophomore in 2014. By that point, West Virginia figures to have three senior running backs on the depth chart — Andrew Buie, Dustin Garrison and Dreamius Smith—along with Wendell Smallwood, who will be a true freshman this fall.

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  • big tom

    unless there are unlining conditions that would rule him out, i say offer him the key to the state,,,
    My guess is , when he would become eligible, he would most likely be our no. 1 back..
    now if he has issues,,ex. character, academic , or otherwise, we should evaluate and make an offer
    If huggins can bring in criminals why can't Dana bring in a player is a bit confused on loyalities...
    go for it,,, he looks and acts like a big time back that we have been searching for.

    • Vinnie

      Always gotta throw Huggs under the bus...most of you guys have no idea what you are talking about concerning anything other than walking out to the mailbox for your social security check

      • FungoJoe

        Vinnie, get with the times. Social Security checks are direct deposited nowadays, have been for over a decade. I can only imagine that you think Art Lewis is still the football coach.
        Get an update for your brain.
        Holgorsen in 2013==a 4-8 record.

      • RamblingMan

        Vinnie, the Jersey Shore called and wants you back.
        The new WVU basketball mantra, Hugg's thugs.

      • Maxxajay

        Vinnie , I like it you are on it .. Way to go

  • Big Larry

    WVU can never have too many great players...If he comes...If will be a slap in the face to Pitt...especially if he does well.

    Mr. Shell..."COME ON DOWN"...we'd love to have ya!

    • tw eagle

      how is it a slap in the face to pitt ? pitt slammed the door on this guy when he tried to return , if he weren't "damaged" goods pitt would have limited his transfer options , make it tough the kid . . .crist knows he'll be trouble wherever he goes . . .this kid , from my relatives in beaver valley , should have gone to the sec - their kind of "material" . . .
      let osu have him , maybe they can spend the time to try and fix him . . .

  • L J

    I remember a kid that NotreDame did not want by the name of Jake Kelchner, worked out pretty good for WVU! Give him a chance.

  • Maxxajay

    I feel the coaches know Shell very well I think the young man has experience and is able to add to our offense he's matured I think he can do a lot.I say give him a shot it may worth it. He still may go to Ohio State or Kentucky.....

    • Mister

      The coaches will give him a shot. He'll do fine.

  • Big Harv

    I live in Pa..not far from where Rushel grew up and played ball..He is a rare talent,,make no mistake about it..I followed his career for four years ,watching him break every record in the W.P.I.A.L.and become the all time rushing leader in the State...All the while hoping he would end up in Morgantown.
    Are there risks in taking him on??Absolutely..there are risk in every player you sign.Has he done some things that he shouldn't have done?? Yes,no question about it..But,how many of you can say that you never did anything wrong at that age?
    I screwed up many times,I am so very thankful that I was given chances to change my life.
    Isn't that all he is asking here?
    He has to sit out a year..Surely he will have time in that period to show the school and us fans that he has changed..
    What is there to lose?We will lose three running backs in 2015..If he works out ,we have one great replacement.If he doesn't we still recruit three running backs..
    I am a proud 72 year old Mountaineer fan..I will believe in them which ever way they decide to go..Big Harv

  • pghmountaineer

    One more thing. This kid is twice the running back that Steve Slaton was. That's not to say Slaton wasn't good, he was teriffic. But this kid is a game changer and a stud. He's Noel Devine with more power in his legs.

    • sweens41

      you're on crack if you think this kid will even come close to the numbers slaton put up. the kid is a mess and i doubt he even sees the field,already in terrible shape and he had no issue leaving his kids when he decided to go to ucla but then had problems with admissions. he's used to having everyone kiss his a##.

    • tw eagle

      if this guy is twice the player that Steve Slaton is , pitt is way off the board for letting him slip away . . .and again for slamming the door in his face . . .there's a lot of baggage here . . .none that WVU needs to deal with . . .
      one prima donna in ncnally is more than a coach needs to deal with - two would kill a
      growing team . . .stick with the kids that love the game , not the ones that think the game exists to make them look good . . .

  • pghmountaineer

    I think if he wants to come to Morgantown, sits out a year, does what he's supposed to do during that year, and shows he is willing to do what the coaches ask of him, then I say welcome aboard! We could use a 4 star running back. It takes the pressure off of our quaterback.

  • Mister

    The only problem I have with his decision making is he didn't decide to play football at WVU in the first place.

  • Art in Ohio


    Is this the young man that wanted to come to West Virginia but his mother, family members,and high school team mates talked him into going to Pitt??? I believe his first choice was the Mountaineers.

    • Wemakerain

      That was Tyler Boyd, this guy was an Ohio State lean until the very end

      • Art in Ohio

        You right. thanks

  • Mister

    If it happens, then, welcome aboard young man.

  • Helen5844

    I say leave it to the Coaches. They know him better than we do. I do wish we could get some monster defensive guys though.

  • Rugger

    He is more of a gamble because he's already had issues with decision making.

    A year in Motown, not being able to play might not help.

    Who is the last prima donna we had who produced?

  • jake_d

    if the kid wants to come and sit out for a year and work for a shot - i say give him one. how is he more of a gamble than any highschool kid the coaches might offer? i get that he has a little history but he also has some experience and proven talent.

  • WVWho

    2 transfers in 2 years. let the premadonna go somewhere else.

    • hailey

      how about mashall?

      • joe

        what about marsha um sorry i mean marshall lol marsha i kill me some times ha ha ha ha marsha

    • Wemakerain

      Transferred only once, because of a coaching change (Todd Graham recruited him then left for ASU) never actually enrolled or was accepted to UCLA because he didn't want to be away from his twin baby girls. I'm a fan of his talent and second chances so if you feel comfortable here welcome to your new home

      • Shadow

        A young man who doesn't want to be too far from his children can't be too bad. i believe it is a good sign his mind is in the right place. I also believe that players should be able to change because the coach they signed up to play for, left. Therefore, that shouldn't be held against him.

      • Allan Taylor

        Agree with Wemakerain on this one. The decision to leave Pitt is less of a red flag than the unspecified reason behind his one-game suspension last season. Shell reportedly liked Ohio State a lot as a prep recruit, and the Buckeyes seem ready to reload under Urban Meyer. However, Meyer has two electric four-star backs entering as freshman this season, meaning WVU likely offers an easier path to playing time in 2014-16.

        • Big John

          I agree we should give him a chance. Have you heard anything on the tier 3 rights, how many companies bid and when will they be announced?

  • Bottom Feeder

    Hugg"s will probably go 2-23 with this guy...need to fire him now!! Oh, excuse me, this is a football player with all kinds of baggage, let's send him packing too before he gets here. No room for mistakes on this board.

    • Mister

      What baggage?

      • Bottom Feeder

        This was "tongue-in-cheek". Just trying to beat the LLC Threesome to the punch. Would be a great find...hope it works out.