Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 6/24/13
The Rushel Shell saga took its latest turn Monday, and the former five-star running back recruit appears to be on the market once again. Could Arizona State be back in the mix for the former Todd Graham recruit? It seems like a serious long shot, but we'll entertain the idea at least for a moment. First, a little detail. Shell, the all-time rushing leader in Pennsylvania high school history, committed to Pitt when Graham was the coach and stuck to that commitment when Graham left to take over at ASU. He rushed for 641 yards and four touchdowns last season in a part-time role as a freshman. After the season, he declared his intention to transfer. Shell had ASU and Arizona among the schools he was interested in, but Pitt blocked Shell from transferring to both schools, presumably because of the Graham connection and because Rich Rodriguez's UA staff includes some former UA coaches. Both schools were reportedly interested. Shell ultimately decided to transfer to UCLA. However, it came to light over the weekend that Shell never enrolled at UCLA, as the Los Angeles Times reported that Shell decided the distance between Los Angeles and Pennsylvania, where his twin daughters reside, was too great. The report indicated Shell hoped to rejoin the Pitt football team. On Monday, ESPN.com reported Shell would not return to Pitt and that "the door was never open" for such a return. So Shell is an elite running back without a football home. He'll certainly have suitors, particularly out East, where he would be able to stay close to his daughters. ASU almost certainly is still interested considering Shell's talent and the team's need for running backs after the 2013 season, but it would be an extremely complicated pairing. While Shell has been blocked from a transfer to ASU, he does have some options. He could appeal Pitt's block of ASU to the school administration (circumventing the athletic department) andor the NCAA, or he could simply pay his own way at ASU as a walk-on in 2013 before being put on scholarship in 2014, his next year of eligibility. In the latter scenario, he would be eligible for the standard financial aid many students receive, potentially offsetting some of the cost of attendance, but he would still have some expense and would be paying the higher out-of-state tuition rate. And complicating the appeal scenario is the fact that ASU does not have a scholarship to give in 2013, so even a successful appeal might require Shell to pay his own way as a walk-on this year, although it's possible that a scholarship will be freed up before the start of the season. Between those challenges and Shell's reported desire to stay close to home, you can see why it's a real long shot, but it seems reasonable to imagine the Sun Devils at least doing their due diligence.
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