Skokie, Ill. four star ranked running back prospect Rashard Mendenhall (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) from Niles West High School has started to really tear things up on the field this season. Mendenhall gained 326 yards and scored three touchdowns in the Wolves (2-1) 42-26 win last Friday over Deerfield (2-1).
“The first two weeks of the season I was having some hamstring issues," Rashard Mendenhall said. “Last Friday was the first game this year that I felt really good running, and my offensive line did a great job of opening some great holes for me."
Mendenhall, who gave the University of Illinois his verbal commitment well over a year ago when his older brother Walter also verballed to the Illini, is still a rock solid commit to Illinois.
"I'm just looking forward to finishing my senior season strong this fall, and then it's time for me to get ready for college ball. I'm on schedule to graduate high school mid-term in December, then I'll enroll at Illinois for the spring semester so that I can get a head start in spring ball. I'm just really excited to play college ball, but I have some unfinished business to take care of here first this fall."
Mendenhall admits that this season has been different without his older brother and backfield mate Walter in Champaign this fall.
"I've noticed that I'm attracting a lot more attention on the field, that's for sure. I've been playing football with my brother since grade school football, and not having him with me this year has been different, that's for sure."
Mendenhall, who in three games this season has gained 646 yards and has scored 7 rushing touchdowns, has been spending plenty of time in Champaign this season.
"I was at both the Florida A&M game as well as at the UCLA game last week. It's just a great feeling to know that I'll be a part of the program in 5-6 months from now. Last week was a tough loss for the Illini, but I have no doubt that they will turn things around. I'm still a solid verbal commit to the Illini. Several schools have called my coach at school asking about me, yet my phone at home hasn't been ringing off the hook. I've basically told my coach (Mark Egofske) that I'm not interested in any other schools, and I'm not even sure who else has offered me. I'm just not interested, and I'm honoring my commitment to the Illini."
Mendenhall will take an official visit to Illinois later this fall, but has yet to set any date.
"I'm definitely going to take an official visit to Illinois, and that's the only official visit that I'll take."