Rushel Shell, a former top recruit at Pitt, will have three years of eligibility at WVU. (George Gojkovich/SI)
By Zac Ellis
Former Pitt tailback Rushel Shell is transferring to West Virginia, Brady McCollough of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Shell, a freshman with the Panthers last season, will have to sit out the 2013 season and will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.
Reports surfaced in April stating Shell was seeking a transfer to UCLA, but he changed his mind in June and instead began eyeing teams closer to his home state of Pennsylvania, where he has twin daughters. Shell had reportedly narrowed his selected schools to West Virginia, Ohio State and Kentucky.
Shell briefly considered returning to Pitt, but Panthers coaches closed the door on that option.
The tailback entered spring practice as Pitt’s starting running back after rushing for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman in 2012. A four-star prospect out of Hopewell High in Aliquippa, Pa. — the same high school that former Pitt legend Tony Dorsett once attended — Shell originally elected to attend Pittsburgh over the likes of Alabama and Ohio State. He set a state record with 9,078 career rushing yards in high school.
Shell's addition to West Virginia's backfield gives the Mountaineers a deep crop of running backs. In June, Houston tailback Charles Sims
-- the Cougars
' leading rusher in 2012 -- transferred to West Virginia
, as well, where he is eligible to play immediately after graduating from Houston. Sims will likely compete with the Mountaineers' leading returning rusher, Andrew Buie
, for the starting job.