Posted by Bryan Fischer
For months, those that followed Pennslyvania recruiting closely thought Aliquippa (Penn.) running back Rushel Shell would pick Pittsburgh. On Friday morning, he made it official, selecting the Panthers over Alabama in a press conference at his high school.
"Next year I will be a Pitt Panther," Shell said, according to PantherLair.com. "At first, it was a close decision, but as time went, Pitt started to pull away and I just felt that it was the best choice for me."
A five-star and MaxPreps' top big back for the class of 2012, Shell was among the most heavily recruited players in the northeast this year. He's from the same high school (Hopewell) as Tony Dorsett and set the WPIAL all-time rushing record this year, two things that have many fans hoping he'll do similar things to the hall of famer once he arrives on Pitt's campus.
"I'm hoping by me committing, it will bring a couple more commits with me," he said. "I don't see why not. I'll try to do it like Tony Dorsett did: bring everyone with him, and from there, go to a national championship."
At 5-foot-11, 215-pounds, Shell is a load running down hill and has rushed for close to 8,000 yards, a few reasons why he's ranked as the number 11 player in the country.
"An exceptional between the tackles runner, he keeps his pads low, punishes defenders, and gets significant yardage after initial contact," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He shows an explosive second level burst and is a physical back with quick feet, reads his blocks, and displays good vision."
Shell is the 18th commitment for Pitt and new head coach Todd Graham and boosts their recruiting class to No. 16 in the team recruiting rankings. Upon signing in February, he'll become the highest ranked player to play for the Panthers in recent memory.