Hopes to be on Campus Next January

Rashard Mendenhall hasn't signed a Letter of Intent with Illinois yet, but the senior running back is itching to get down to Champaign and learn the Illini offense. Will Rashard be able to graduate high school early and enroll at Illinois in January to get a head start on learning the system? <br><br> Read more in this update provided to IlliniBoard.com by SchoolSports.com.

Although Niles West (Skokie, Ill.) senior running back Rashard Mendenhall hasn't signed with the University of Illinois yet, he says his commitment is solid as oak and that he told his coach to throw away any new recruiting letters that come his way.

In fact, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound back, who was the lone junior to make the USA Today All-USA high school football team last December, says he's taking summer school right now and plans on graduating from Niles West in December to enroll at Illinois for the spring semester.

"I want to get a head start and learn the system," he says. "My brother says it's pretty hard and I want to be ready once the season rolls around."

Mendenhall's older brother, Walter, is a rising freshman running back at Illinois. The two committed to the program last summer.

In addition to making the All-USA team, Rashard earned All-State honors from the Chicago Tribune last fall after rushing for 1,832 yards and 19 touchdowns on only 158 carries while also hauling in 13 receptions for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

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