Pitt freshman running back Shell returns to practice, ready to go
Pitt freshman running back Rushel Shell was excited Monday to chat about his three favorite subjects — football and six-month-old daughters Arionna and Amiyah.
“They can crawl,” he said, his eyes lighting up.
Shell can relate to his twins learning to crawl before they can walk. Dad is going through the same process.
After setting a Pennsylvania record with 9,078 yards in four seasons at Hopewell, Shell spent the first few practices of his college career adjusting to the increased speed and size of the players on the other side of the ball. He struggled initially, and then he missed three days last week while dealing with a troublesome back.
“One day, I just took a wrong cut and everything started hurting,” he said.
Monday, he returned in full pads, aware that playing time at running back might be scarce for those who can't practice.
“At first, I was lost trying to figure out what was going on,” he said. “Now, I'm starting to get the speeds down, when I should make the right cuts.
“I am getting a little accustomed to it. I still got (a long way) to go.”
Shell, 2½ weeks short of his 19th birthday, has stepped into a crowded Pitt backfield, with senior Ray Graham, sophomores Isaac Bennett and Corey Davis and redshirt freshman Malcolm Crockett.
“They make you compete harder because you know if you're not out there, they'll be out there working just as hard, or even harder, than you,” Shell said. “They could take your spot.
“I needed to get back. I decided to work hard to get myself better and get back on the field.”
With five running backs and one football, Shell is realizing there will be limited opportunities, especially with Bennett having an outstanding camp. Even if Graham, one of the nation's top runners last season before injuring his knee, can't start the season, Shell still must fight for playing time.
He doesn't want to redshirt, but he understands the benefits of it.
“At first I didn't want to,” he said. “I just wanted to get out here and play. But when I sat down and talked to some of my teammates, I realized it's a big process.
“If I got redshirted, it would be an extra year to get better, to get more accustomed to the speed and get all the plays down. I wouldn't be mad, but I am still trying to compete and get out there now.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Starting DEs not leaving the field
- Review: Lauren Groff’s ‘Fates and Furies’ looks at paradoxes of marriage
- Review: In Edwidge Danticat’s lyrical ‘Untwine,’ a teen rebuilds her life
- Waivers granted for Garden Theater block development
- Pirates say goodbye to veteran leaders Burnett, Ramirez
- Opposing TEs Miller, Gates took differing paths to greatness
- Safety of credit cards up to banks
- Review: ‘The Killing Lessons’ is compelling thriller from Saul Black
- Review: Vanessa Garcia’s ‘White Light’ examines artist’s conflicts
- State woos Kennametal with $1M in incentives to stay in Pa.
- Storyteller brings ghost tales to Rostraver library event