Rashard Jamal Mendenhall (born June 19, 1987) is an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Steelers 23rd overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Illinois.
Mendenhall attended Niles West High School and Lincoln Jr. High School in Skokie, Illinois . As a five-star prospect, he was also rated the No. 1 recruit in the state of Illinois by Scout.com. He recorded 1,300 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. As a junior, he rushed for 1,832 yards and 19 touchdowns, while averaging 11.6 yards per carry. In his last year, he averaged 9.1 yards per carry, rushing for 1,453 yards on 160 attempts and 14 touchdowns. Following his high school career, Mendenhall played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Mendenhall played for the University of Illinois football team. His first season was in 2005, during which he rushed for 218 yards on 48 carries, adding 82 yards receiving and two touchdowns. In 2006, Mendenhall nearly tripled his rushing total, gaining 640 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He added 164 yards receiving and a touchdown, with 12 receptions. Throughout his final season with the Illini, Mendenhall rushed for a then school record 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns. Throughout the 13 game season, he also had 318 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 34 receptions. He majored in sports management.