Here we go again, folks. After several months of it looking like Rushel Shell was Westwood-bound, we learned yesterday that the star running back has changed his mind and is interested in returning to Pitt. Here's my story from today's P-G, and a few thoughts on the issue...
- It's far from a given that Paul Chryst would decide to let Shell back on the team. I can't think of any previous examples (especially one this high-profile) of a player publicly announcing his intention to transfer, pulling an abrupt about-face like this and being welcomed back to his original team. It really will be a tough decision for Chryst as to how he balances Shell's undeniable talent with the fact that he did leave the team during spring practices.
- I don't see any reason why the NCAA would prevent Shell from being immediately eligible if he did end up returning to Pitt. He never technically enrolled at UCLA, so the past few months would basically equate to a "leave of absence," or whatever you want to call it. He never took a scholarship at another institution, so he would not be subject to transfer regulations.
- If he does come back, I'm sure there would be some (or many) steps taken to ensure his commitment to the team. One thing I have heard over and over again when talking to people about Chryst's philosophy for building a program is that he only wants players at Pitt who want to be at Pitt. That holds true in recruiting and when talking to guys about transfer decisions (as he originally did with Shell). Shell obviously did not want to be at Pitt this spring, so I'm sure one of the important factors when determining whether or not to grant his return is figuring out whether or not this newfound desire to be at Pitt really is genuine.
I'm sure it'll be an interesting week (as always, there is no offseason).