The Rushel Shell saga has taken yet another turn, this one a seemingly abrupt reversal.
Pitt's former star running back will not transfer to UCLA and has reached out to Pitt coaches about a possible return to the Panthers, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Shell, a Hopewell High School graduate, announced in April his intentions to transfer to UCLA. 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.
As a freshman, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns with the Panthers in 2012. With the graduation of Ray Graham, Shell looked poised to take over as a multi-year starter in the Pitt backfield.
Instead, he was given "time away from football" at spring practices, and ultimately decided to transfer. Pitt blocked him from transferring to Arizona and Arizona State, two of his preferred destinations, and he chose to transfer to UCLA, a move that will not come to fruition.
Shell set the Pennsylvania high school rushing record in his four years at Hopewell with 9,078 career yards, and was seen as a major recruiting coup for a program in turmoil when he committed to the Panthers in 2011.
Shell, who is the father of 16-month-old twin girls, chose to sign with the Panthers in part to stay close to his young family, and now those same reasons appear to be drawing him back to Pitt.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @SWernerPG First Published June 24, 2013 1:30 AM