In case you missed it this morning, I spoke with former Pitt running back Rushel Shell's mother Toni Zuccaro yesterday, and she outlined some details about her son's departure from Pitt and what his future plans are.
The next step here is Shell planning his visits over the summer and eventually deciding on a new school at some point. According to Zuccaro, Shell will decide between three schools: West Virginia, Ohio State and Kentucky. She also said that Pitt has agreed to release him to these three schools.
West Virginia is the closest to home for Shell. They recruited him out of high school and he even went down there for a football game during the recruiting process. The main connection there is Mountaineers' safeties coach Tony Gibson. Gibson recruited Shell to Pitt when he was an assistant on Todd Graham's staff in 2011.
Ohio State was one of Shell's favored schools when he was deciding out of high school, but NCAA sanctions and the resignation of former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel made them unappealing at the time. The program has definitely regained its luster under Urban Meyer, and Columbus is a three-hour drive away.
Finally, Kentucky is a bit of a dark horse here because it wasn't a school Shell strongly considered out of high school. Mark Stoops has done a good job of starting to rebuild the program so far, and the Wildcats have been very successful on the recruiting trail. Plus, playing in the SEC is always a big draw for kids. Two of Shell's friends from Pitt, Chris and Demitrious Davis, transferred to Kentucky earlier this month.
Spokespeople from the three schools could not be reached Thursday, but Zuccaro said there have been talks with coaches at all three, indicating at least some level of mutual interest. Steve Jones of the Louisville Courier-Journal, though, points out that Kentucky is fairly well-stocked at running back at the moment.
We likely won't know a whole lot more until Shell takes his visits over the course of the summer.