Friday, October 14, 2011

Panthers add Shell

In one of the worse kept secrets in recent Pitt recruiting history, Hopewell star running back Rushel (pronounced Russell) Shell verbally committed to the Panthers this morning.  The 5'11" 210 pound star originally was headed to Ohio State but eliminated the Buckeyes after Jim Tressel was fired.  His final choices were Pitt and Alabama.  Other offers included Penn State, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Oregon.

Shell is extremely strong and has the speed to go to the distance any time he touches the ball.  He is not a quick scatback type, but instead uses his toughness to run between the tackles, or sometimes his great vision to pick out holes on a sweep before turning on the jets and sprinting down the sidelines with his distinctive head back style.  He also has excellent hands and is a threat as a receiver.  At the very least, Shell is expected to get time at running back next year, if Ray Graham decides to stay at Pitt.  If Graham decides to go to the NFL, then Shell becomes the favorite to start as a true freshman.

What does it mean for Pitt?  Neither Graham nor Dion Lewis were rated anywhere near Shell as prospects, and both were star running backs for the Panthers.  So you don't have to be a top five back nationally to be an excellent college running back.  And of course the naysayers will also point out that Andrew Johnson and Brandon Williams, two past local running back recruiters who failed to meet expectations.  But neither Johnson nor Williams were as special as Shell.  That doesn't mean he will definitely be a great college player because there have been even better prospects over the years that have failed, so nothing is for certain.  But, make no mistake about it, Shell can be a special player.

As for his immediate impact, it sends a message to the WPIAL players, and also prospects nationally, that Pitt is a team that has some things going for them.  Shell combines with top 10 QB prospect Chad Voytik to serve notice to the rest of the nation that Pitt is loading up.  Shell's commitment could also lead to the commitment of his friend, Sto-Rox linebacker Deaysean Rippy, another top national recruit.  That in turn could help land top 2013 prospects like Central Valley WR Robert Foster and North Allegheny OL Patrick Kugler.  And before you know it, the Panthers are loaded.

10 comments:

  1. This program can use some good news, I'm sure the coaching staff is telling kids in the 2012 recruiting class that no matter what position they play there will be an immediate opportunity to play.

    Also per your review of 1st half grades it kinda makes you think that Pitt's recruiting classes under Wanny were a bit over rated.

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  2. Hope you're right Chris! Time will tell but maybe they're making some positive strides in recruiting.

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  3. Chris

    I don't know much about Shell, but I'm hearing that he has some off the field issues (grades, lack of training, "other issues"). Should we expect this kid to stay eligible?

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  4. I think he'll be fine. I actually talked to somebody today who knows his mother and he said it's a good family.

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  5. Watched some of the game on ESPNU last night and Foster looks like someone who definitely should be on Pitt's radar too.

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  6. Oh, Foster is definitely Pitt's No.1 target next season, and I think they're going to get him eventually. He is every bit as good as Shell is, and if you look at my past post on who Pitt's top targets are, Shell and Foster are the first two. Voytik, Shell, and Foster would be phenomenal in this offense.

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  7. Just watching this pathetic offense against Utah, and suggesting you may have been overly generous with your grades, Chris. Graham has coached so poorly, he should be on double secret probation.

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  8. I just threw up. Not one o-lineman who should even be on scholarship. Any chance of getting a QB from Duquesne, Cal U, or Slippery Rock? No question all are probably better than any QB on our roster. Not that we had any chance with the inadequacies at the above referenced positions, but how does ray graham only get 15 touches? At least if you give him the ball 40 times there is a chance he breaks one on his own. Angain, not that it would have made a difference, but several wasted timeouts. Offense had zero clue what it was doing. Entire team is regressing. I hope I survive the season without breaking my television or some other object in my house. I just hope we don't lose recruits over this disgrace (i.e. shell voytek). I don't care if we go 0-12 next year, but assuming ray graham leaves (and why on earth would he come back), both shell and voytek need to be starting next year. Sunseri is a awful and trey anderson is a true freshman walk on. How are you a D1 AQ team and those are your only options at QB. Sorry needed to vent.

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  9. Doke:

    Who are the prospects from the past that were rated even higher than Shell who didn't cut it?

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  10. Well, just for Pitt, Brian Davis comes to mind. If you count all RBs throughout the country, there are higher rated ones every year that fail. Having said that, I don't think Shell will fail. I am very, very high on him. I think he's the real deal.

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