Former Pitt running back Rushel Shell has decided to transfer to UCLA, according to multiple sources.
Shell, who left the Panthers midway through spring practices earlier this month to seek a transfer, spent last weekend at UCLA practices.
Because of the paperwork involved, it could take a few days for the move to become official. A UCLA spokesman declined comment Tuesday, but did confirm the school was recruiting Shell. Pitt officials also had no statement on the matter.
Unless he receives a waiver from the NCAA, Shell must sit out the 2013 season. He would be eligible to play for the Bruins in 2014.
Shell could not be reached for comment, but changed his personal Twitter account biography to read, in part, "Running back for UCLA."
Shell was expected to be the Panthers' No. 1 running back in 2013. He rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns as a freshman last season and had taken all the first-team snaps in the spring.
With practices still in progress March 28, Shell was granted some "time away from football" by coach Paul Chryst and ultimately decided to transfer.
Shell requested a release to California, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State.
Pitt agreed to release him to the two California schools, but blocked Arizona and Arizona State because of former Pitt coaches on those staffs. Notably, former Panthers coach Todd Graham is now the coach at Arizona State.
For the Bruins, Shell could be the long-term solution to a void at running back.
Even though he'll likely miss a year, Shell could become the heir to Johnathan Franklin, who finished his career at UCLA last season as the school's all-time leading rusher.
Heading into spring practices, there was no clear-cut replacement for Franklin.
Shell was a four-star recruit coming out of high school last year, according to Rivals.com scouting service. He set the all-time PIAA state rushing record in four years at Hopewell High School, running for 9,078 yards in his career.
He was the highlight of Chryst's first recruiting class at Pitt and appeared to be a perfect fit for Chryst's run-first, pro-style offense.
Sam Werner: email@example.com and Twitter @SWernerPG. First Published April 17, 2013 4:00 AM