Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVU FOOTBALL ; Shell Adds Weight, Physicality to His Game

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

WVU FOOTBALL ; Shell Adds Weight, Physicality to His Game

Article excerpt

MORGANTOWN - When Rushel Shell returned from spring break late last month, he stepped on a scale and saw he was 3 pounds heavier than when he left campus for the weeklong break from school and football. This is not unusual in college football, of course, but this was also good news for the West Virginia running back.

"I feel really comfortable at 230, he said. "I feel like I'm still 215, but when I hit someone, it feels completely different.

The fifth-year senior is indeed up 15 pounds from his playing weight last season, a "solid and gradual addition to his frame. It's been a goal for the Mountaineers for some time now as they try to get Shell to run to and through holes and replace the occasional finesse in his game with physicality.

If seven spring practices are to be trusted, Shell finally is who WVU thought he'd be when he transferred from Pitt in 2013 and sat out that season.

"This is the kid we were hoping we were going to see last year, running backs coach JaJuan Seider said. "The light is on right now. If he continues what he's doing, which I think he will, he's going to be a happy man this time next year, because he's going to be rich.

Shell has eyeballed the NFL for a long time. He was a three-time first-team all-state player and a USA Today All-American in 2011. No one in Pennsylvania history has ever run for more than his 9,078 yards, and no one in WPIAL history has more than his 110 touchdowns. He averaged more than 200 yards in 44 career games and set a national record with 39 straight 100-yard games.

"The biggest thing I told him is to block out the outside and stop worrying about expectations. Go back and be the kid that made you Rushel Shell, the Pennsylvania rushing leader, the four- or five- star kid coming out of high school when you were playing ball just for fun, Seider said.

Shell's in a position to be who he's seemingly become because Wendell Smallwood left his side a year earlier than normal so he could enter the NFL Draft. …

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