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Speculation swirls around Russel Shell’s future at Pitt

Pittsburgh could have a very significant offensive problem on its hands. Or, it could wind up being nothing at the end of the day.

The way the speculation’s headed, though, it’s looking as if the latter scenario is becoming less and less likely. Maybe.

Leading off what’s a very fluid situation, and citing a source close to the team, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported earlier today that top running back Rushel Shell is considering a transfer from the Panthers. In somewhat of a glimmer of hope, however, the paper reported that Shell had not yet asked for the paperwork that would be necessary for a transfer.

Shell suffered a leg injury at practice Friday and was not on the field Tuesday. Head coach Paul Chryst acknowledged that Shell’s absence from practice was not due to injury, saying "[w]e’ll kind of work through it and then we’ll see.”

This afternoon, however, Arizona State defensive back Damarious Randall tweeted the following: “S/O to @RushelShell for becoming a #sundevil #fearthefork y’all go follow him show em some love ...” Obviously, Randall is referring to Shell heading to ASU.

Just as obviously, neither Pittsburgh nor Arizona State has commented on Shell. Requests to Pitt for an update on Shell’s status have not been answered.

If the move west does indeed come to fruition, it would be a significant punch to the gut for the Panthers’ offense. As the primary backup to Ray Graham last season, Shell rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns. Shell, rated as the No. 6 RB in the country in the Class of 2012, entered spring practice as the starter on the depth chart.

For what it’s worth, writer Chris Peak tweeted “Chance of [Shell] returning is low” shortly after Randall’s social media declaration.