Rushel Shell named as top ten player on the rise in college football

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

We've had quite a bit of discussion about Rushel Shell lately with the potential transfer. But getting back to Shell in respect to on-field issues, he was named as one of the top ten players in college football on the rise by Athlon a few days ago. Shell and Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards are the only two ACC players to make the cut.

Their assessment of Shell, listed at No. 6?

With Ray Graham coming back from a torn ACL last season, the Panthers expected and needed a big contribution from Shell. And considering he ranked as the No. 5 running back in the 2012 signing class, it was no surprise Shell was one of the Big East’s top freshmen last year. In 12 games, the Pennsylvania native recorded 641 yards and four scores, while catching nine passes for 103 yards. Shell’s best game came against Virginia Tech, posting 157 yards on 23 attempts. With Graham expiring his eligibility, the job is Shell’s to lose for 2013. The sophomore will be running behind an offensive line that returns three starters but loses All-Big East center Ryan Turnley and guard Chris Jacobson. Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst molded some of the nation’s top rushing attacks at Wisconsin, and with Shell leading the way in 2013, look for the Panthers to feature a ground and pound approach.

If Pitt can somehow convince Shell to return, he's a good pick for the list, obviously. Shell could double his production from last year as a true freshman when he split carries with senior Ray Graham. And while I personally am not sure this season will the kind of breakout year that many are expecting, the possibility for that certainly exists.

If he returns, Shell will be working with what I think could be a decent offensive line. He'll also get the bulk of the carries if he can remain healthy and with an unproven passing game, there could be plenty of them.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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