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Former Pitt RB Shell visits WVU, to make decision Friday

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 4:54 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt running back Rushel Shell takes a handoff during the first day of spring practice Tuesday, March 5, 2013, on the South Side.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Former Pitt running back Rushel Shell said he will decide between West Virginia and Kentucky on Friday.

Former Pitt running back Rushel Shell met with coaches and officials at West Virginia this week and said he will announce Friday where he will enroll next semester.

“It's definitely a relief that I will finally be settled somewhere,” said Shell, who visited Morgantown, W. Va. on Monday and Tuesday. “I'm pretty happy.”

Shell said his options are West Virginia and Kentucky, but he has no plans to visit to Kentucky officially.

Shell said he met with the entire Mountaineers coaching staff.

“I liked it a lot. It's a very unique school,” he said. “Their fans are diehards fans. You can't go wrong with that. It was all right.”

Kentucky remains an option, however. Shell's former Pitt teammates Chris and Demitrious Davis have transferred to Kentucky.

“I feel good about going down there with people I am close with,” he said. “That's something I will consider.”

Shell said Kentucky is on the upswing.

“It's a new era there,” he said. “Things are happening there.”

Shell must sit out the 2013 season, according to NCAA transfer rules, but he said the inactivity will allow him to get acclimated to his new school.

“I feel like I will have time to learn the new style of offense and come out after a year as a sophomore and be explosive,” he said.

Shell, one of Pitt's most prized recruits in recent years, told coach Paul Chryst in March that he wanted to transfer. He visited UCLA and was making plans to enroll but decided the school was too far from his home in Hopewell. At that point, he reached out to Pitt officials about a possible return.

Chryst, however, never considered that possibility, and Shell began looking at other schools.

“I changed my mind (about UCLA),” he said. “It was just too far. I made a mistake.”

He said he is grateful to have a chance to enroll at another school this fall.

“God works in mysterious ways,” he said.

Shell declined to discuss his reasons for leaving Pitt.

“I don't want to talk about Pitt,” he said.

Shell, who set a Pennsylvania high school rushing record at Hopewell from 2008-11, was Pitt's backup running back last season. He rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns on 141 carries while playing behind starter Ray Graham. He entered spring drills as Pitt's No. 1 running back before deciding to transfer after six practices.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jdipaola@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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