PHOENIX - When coach Todd Graham left Pittsburgh for Arizona State, four-star running back Rushel Shell, who pledged to the Panthers in October, could have looked at other options but decided against it.
Ohio State and Alabama were the two major programs pushing Shell to reconsider his options but the Aliquippa (Pa.) Hopewell stat machine said Thursday here at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl that he's sticking with his decision.
"I committed to Pitt, they had coaching changes, but I'm still committed," Shell said. "They got a new coach and I'm pretty confident in this one. I'm staying with Pitt.
"You get that feeling when you go to a school and I've been to plenty of schools and it's just whenever you get that feeling this is where you want to be.
"You have to look at it like this is where you're going to be for four years of your life so you have to be comfortable. There is nothing better than home."
The 6-foot, 210-pound prospect said he talked with new Pitt coach Paul Chryst on the telephone Wednesday but it was only a preliminary chat about when the two could meet up to discuss how Shell will be used in the offense.
That's an important thing for Shell, who finished his high school career as the leading rusher in Pennsylvania state history. In his career, Shell has rushed for more than 9,000 yards.
Sitting down with Chryst will be important so Shell gets a better understanding what Pitt's new coach envisions for the Panthers' offense.
"I talked to him on the phone (Wednesday) but we really didn't get to talk about a lot," Shell said. "We were trying to set up a date where we can talk 1-on-1 in person.
"It's definitely real important because I had a good feel for Graham and he came down here (to Arizona State). It's business but you have to watch who you trust."
Teams have tried to turn Shell - he said the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide have been the most active - but the four-star running back doesn't seem to have much interest in other programs.
"Once Graham left they tried to talk to me again because they thought I'd change my mind but I told them I didn't have any interest in anything other than Pitt," Shell said.