Could the emergence of Isaac Bennett mean a redshirt for Rushel Shell? (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
A few months back, I threw out the idea of Pitt potentially redshirting Isaac Bennett. Sounds crazy now, right? Bennett has ripped through the spring and fall and with the uncertainty still surrounding Ray Graham, there's no chance that happens.
But does that mean Pitt needs to play Graham, Bennett, and freshman Rushel Shell this season? I always found it difficult to believe that Shell would want to redshirt, but guess what - he at least seems like he's open to the possibility.Pitt's athletics department has done a great job of firing out quotes after practices this season and there was this interesting one from Shell himself about the possibility of redshirting:
"At first I didn’t want to. I just wanted to get out here and play. But when I sat down and talked to some of my teammates, I realized that it’s a big process. If I got redshirted, it’d be one more year to get better, to get accustomed to the speed, to get a little plays down. So I wouldn’t be mad, but I’m still trying to compete to get out there now."
That's really a bit of a bombshell if you ask me. He was one of the top running back recruits in the nation in 2012 and those types of players generally don't sit out. But assuming Graham is ready to play, wouldn't Pitt be better served by sticking with he and Bennett, while throwing in Malcolm Crockett and Corey Davis?
No one is disputing that Shell is likely more talented than the latter two, but the point I made earlier about redshirting Bennett was that why burn a redshirt on him if he's only going to play sparingly? Redshirting Shell would allow him to come in next season, compete for carries with Bennett and give him three full years of significant playing time.
This, of course, probably goes out the window if Graham just can't play much or if the team suffers another injury next season. But Graham and Bennett are clearly the No. 1 and No. 2 options on this team right now and if they're both able to carry the load, I'd be all in favor of redshirting Shell.
What do you think?