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WVU Player Spotlight: the emergence of Rushel Shell

Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Rushel Shell rushed for 788 yards and scored seven touchdowns for the Mountaineers in 2014, and West Virginia will be looking to him to do major damage next season.

Without Clint Trickett, Kevin White and Mario Alford, the Mountaineers’ offense has some question marks going into the 2015 season. The running back position should be a strong point with Shell, Wendell Smallwood, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie and Dontae Thomas-Williams.

Shell was a highly-touted five star recruit who transferred from Pitt in the summer of 2013.  While at Hopewell High, the 5-foot-10 back rushed for a record 9,078 yards. He was named to the USA Today first team All-American and Sports Illustrated and ESPNHS All-American.

Shell redshirted and sat out the 2013 season to fulfill NCAA requirements and showed glimpses of brilliance last year. There were also times that the Hopewell, Pa. native was virtually non-existent.

“”It’s time for Rushel to be a dominant force,” said head coach Dana Holgorsen.”I think great things are ahead of him.”

Next season could be the year that decides Holgorsen’s fate at West Virginia, and he will look to the powerful running back to carry the offense.

“He was well on his way towards it last year I think and he just wore down, got a few injuries,” said Holgorsen. “His deal is, he needs to have a great off-season.  He’s a physical, powerful guy.  He needs to continue just to get as big and fast and strong as he can.”

In the Mountaineers’ final game, Shell rushed for 146 yards and scored a touchdown on 22 carries. The following month, he rushed for just 22 yards in West Virginia’s 47-35  loss to Texas A&M in the Autozone Liberty Bowl.

The potential for Shell to become a threat is there. He runs with power and has speed. Shell is the complete package, but the Mountaineers will need him to stay healthy and consistently perform well.

Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
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