A Notch Above The Rest

San Antonio - <b>Rashard Mendenhall</b> is one of the best running back prospects in the entire country and he knows it. No, Rashard isn't conceited; in fact, he's extremely grounded and mature. He checked into San Antonio today for the U.S. Army, All-American game and told Scout.com why he's just a notch above the competition.<br><br>

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is played in San Antonio, Texas., at the Alamodome on Jan. 15, 2005, and broadcast nationally on NBC at 1 p.m., Eastern. Scout.com is a sponsor, the official selection partner and exclusive on-line partner of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as the associated U.S. Army Combine for underclassmen.

Mendenhall, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound, running back from Skokie (Ill.) Niles West rushed for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2004. He gave Illinois his verbal commitment as a junior.

"My whole life, I've just been bigger and stronger than everyone else." Mendenhall said.

"Basketball, football or baseball, I've just been a little bit better. I'm 5-11 and I can dunk a basketball.

"I'm very competitive and I don't like to lose. I give it 110% in everything that I do."

Mendenhall could have had his pick of schools if he hadn't committed to the Fighting Illini so soon.

"I know I could have had all the schools chasing me like the rest of these guys," Mendenhall said while pointing at his Army Bowl teammates.

"What more could I want? Illinois has everything that I'm looking for and I'm going to get to play with my brother.

"My brother and I decided a long time ago that we were going to play together in college."

Mendenhall graduated early and he'll be in Champaign for spring football.

"I wanted to get in early and compete for playing time. My brother (Walter Mendenhall) is still a running back. They haven't moved him—yet." Mendenhall said with a smile on his face.

What was Mendenhall's first impression of San Antonio?

"The Army has really done a great job. It's just an honor to be here. The hotel reception was just incredible. I really appreciate the honor that Army has given me."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories