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Pittsburgh RB Rushel Shell To Transfer

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Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh was already battling the task of replacing its leading passer from the 2012 season. Tuesday the Panthers were dealt another blow as the top back on their roster decided to transfer. 

Rushel Shell spent his freshman year last season as the backup to Ray Graham, who graduated. Shell was in line to be the leader of the Panthers' rushing attack until the news broke. In his backup role last season Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns. He posted a couple of notable performances. In the Panthers' early-season upset of Virginia Tech, Shell carried the ball 23 times for 157 yards. He also had a 96-yard rushing game against Louisville. 

Shell's departure means that Malcolm Crockett, Issac Bennett and Desmond Brown will be vying for the leading role in the backfield. The three dont have much experience as a go-to back. Head coach Paul Chryst will have his work cut out for him finding ways to get the running game going. 

As for Shell, Arizona State, Arizona, UCLA and Cal were some of the schools that interested him. However, ESPN's Joe Schad reported that Pitt will not allow Shell to transfer to Arizona State to play with former Pittsburgh coach Todd Graham. Coach Graham recruited Shell before leaving the Panthers to take over at Arizona State. Coming out of high school Shell was regarded as one of the top running backs in the nation in the 2012 class. ACC schools will also be off limits to the running back as a potential destination.