Ibrahim Rashada Another Budding BYU Standout

Don't let the soft-spoken, southern-style politeness and demeanor of this versatile football player fool you. He is all man, albeit a young one. He is a four-year letter winner in football, basketball and track who "did everything for us." He was also named the 2003 Augusta Chronicle Male Athlete of the Year.

He is Ibrahim Rashada, a 5-10, 190 pound super athlete who was Academy of Richmond County's (Augusta, Georgia) star wide receiver and cornerback as a freshman; starting quarterback and free safety as a sophomore and junior; and starting running back and strong safety as a senior. "He was OUR team," his coach, Jamie Echols, said Wednesday.

Rashada, a devout Muslim, will be noticeable in Provo this fall because of his beard. He has been granted a special exemption to keep it for religious reasons.

What he won't keep to himself is his versatility and talent as an all-round athlete. The Cougars recruited Rashada as a defensive back. He runs a 4.5/40 and is exceptionally strong for his size with a bench press of 310 pounds and a 510-pound squat.

Injured most of his senior season, his coach said he was only fully healthy in two of the team's 10 games this season. Yet Rashada still led his team with 62 tackles and four interceptions at strong safety and ran for 593 yards and eight touchdowns on offense. He also earned Augusta Chronicle Super-11; honorable mention all-area honors; and team MVP honors in his final season.

"Rashada's always been a great athlete. He was our team leader in every category he played for the last four years. BYU is lucky because they're getting a great athlete and a great young man," Coach Echols said. He said Rashada was his only Div. 1 recruit this year.

As a completely healthy player his junior season, Rashada's stats and accolades were more indicative of his real talent, according to his coach. He was an honorable mention all-state selection; earned Augusta Chronicle all-area honors in both football and basketbal; earned team Offensive MVP honors as a junior; he was credited with 700 yards rushing and 500 yards passing as a junior quarterback, recording 11 touchdowns; he recorded 92 tackles and seven interceptions, leading the Central Savannah River Area; and earned Georgia Sports Writer's Association Class AAA All-State honorable-mention honors as a junior.

BYU assistant Todd Bradford knew about Rashada from his coaching days at Middle Tennessee State and started recruiting him last summer. By last season's end in late November, Rashada had verbally committed to BYU.

"My parents had heard of BYU, but before we (Rashada's family) knew anything about it, Coach Bradford talked to us about the school and their values. It was the same as ours and my parents said it was OK with them if I went to BYU," he said.

Cougar head coach Gary Crowton visited with the Rashada family the night before the young man flew to Provo for his official recruiting trip on Jan. 16. The visit and meetings with defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall and others at the university sealed the deal.

"I feel real good about my decision. It's a real good football program. I'm looking forward to a great experience and getting my degree. The facilities are the best I've seen anywhere. BYU's a high-class school and I'm just dying waiting to get there," Rashada commented.

Rashada said he faxed his letter of intent – the first to arrive in Provo – yesterday at 8 a.m. EST. He was recruited by Georgia, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia Southern, Middle Tennessee State and W. Georgia, but was only offered by Auburn, BYU, Middle Tennessee State and W. Georgia.

The fourth son of Joseph and Debra Rashada's eight children, Ibrahim said they are a close-knit family. His siblings include: Yusuf (B-26), Jameelah (S-24), Muhammad (B-23), Rakin (deceased), Fareeda (S-20), Asima (S-19), Mamie (S-17), and Ahmad (B-16).

Since his 18-year-old brother, Rakin, drowned three years ago in a swimming pool accident, Rashada has dedicated his football career to him. Rakin had verbally committed to accept a football/track scholarship to Middle Tennessee State, but never got to play.

"I've worn his No. 6 ever since. Every game I play, I play for him. He's my motivation. It was his dream to play college football and I'm making it happen for both of us," Rashada said.

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