Remember when we all were worried about Pitt's recruiting efforts for this class? That seems so long ago. With the verbal commitments of touted recruits like Chad Voytik, Demetrious and Chris Davis, Adam Bisnowaty, and now Rushel Shell, this class is looking great...on paper. As we've seen with Wannstedt, it doesn't translate to Big East championships and BCS berths. Still it's comforting to be competing for and getting top flight recruits.
Back to Shell though. Anytime Pitt gets a recruit over Alabama, it's a big deal. Shell is a consensus top 50 recruit in the 2012 recruiting class and is one of the top 5 running backs for 2012.
So why is Shell so highly regarded? He's got great speed. Which is exactly what this offense needs. At 5'11, he's not as small as Dion is, but he has great vision as a ball carrier. And it shows in his stats. In his 4 years at Hopewell, he has run for nearly 8000 yards and is the WPIAL all-time leader in rushing yards.
Here's what ESPN has to say:
Shell is one of the more complete and productive running back prospects this class has to offer. Demonstrates workhorse type attributes. Has a great blend of size, speed and power. Strong, compact and durable. Has every-down body composition for the college level. Speed is very good for his size but not in an elite category. Can run with patience while letting his blocks develop or hit the hole with urgency when he gets a downhill seam. Shifty and sudden redirecting and in and out traffic. Flashes very good lateral movements and jump-cuts for a bigger back. He can get thin through the smaller creases and does giving defenders a clean head on shot. Shows great burst out of his cuts when he decides to get North and is explosive darting through the first level. Has the speed to get outside and turn the corner. Reaches top speed quickly and that striking speed to power combination produces great yards after contact production. Runs behind his pads and dips his shoulders on contact. Has a low center of gravity and a strong power-base which allows him to absorb the initial blow, retain his balance and continue forward progress. Thick through his upper-body to help run through high arm-tackles and can ward off tacklers with a good stiff-arm. Is an aggressive, determined runner who looks to finish runs and has the leg strength to do so. Catches the ball well out of the backfield can block and carry a team on its back. Shell has the skill-set and physical tools to run out of different schemes at the next level and be productive as a zone or downhill runner. Difficult to find big, backs who move the chains inside or out at the major college level but Shell should be one of them.