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UCLA Football: Bruins Welcome Former Pitt RB Rushel Shell


Rushel Shell, Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This afternoon, Rushel Shell tweeted that he would be enrolling at UCLA after transferring from Pittsburgh.

At 6’1 and 215 pounds, Shell is a wrecking ball. He immediately draws comparison to former UCLA running back, Derrick Coleman. Last year at Pitt, Shell carried the ball 141 times for 641 yards, scoring four touchdowns and averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Whether he’ll be able to play this upcoming year is to be determined, though Shell is expected to apply for an NCAA hardship waiver. Regardless of the outcome, this is a very solid pick up for Jim Mora and his staff.

The tailback position took a big hit with the graduation of Johnathan Franklin, but Malcolm Jones is returning for UCLA and now you have Rushel Shell coming in. Shell is exactly what UCLA needs, a big power back who can run and finish runs through contact. Some project Jordon James to be the starting RB (since he has been so far in spring), while the back-up spot is up for grabs—expect Shell to make a hard push.

Whether he’s playing this year or not, he’s going to compete no matter the circumstances. He doesn’t have speed like Franklin, but he’s built like a stone wall. This gives UCLA a dynamic duo. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone can go with Shell on 3rd-and-short or even goal-line situations, and he also shows has versatility with nine catches for 103 yards. These stats can be overlooked because he was buried behind Ray Graham who tore it up with the Panthers for 1,042 yards and 11 touchdowns.

It’s very important to have a go-to running back. Now that Shell is coming in, it provides depth and a go-to RB for certain situations. Since UCLA usually uses three RBs in its offense, Shell will definitely be seen in goal-line and short yardage sets, likely going out for a pass or two in the spread as well. It will be very interesting to see the impact he has on the squad. There’s no doubt that I’m excited to see what he can do.

That being said, let’s all welcome Rushel Shell to the Bruin Family!