Arizona State has one of the best recruiting classes of the summer, and it’s all thanks to the return of running back Rashard Mendenhall, who was a three-star recruit.
The Golden Eagles were looking for an all-purpose back to complement their talented front seven and will be counting on the 6-foot-2, 228-pounder to be their lead back.
He had just a 5.5-yard average and 0.5 yards per carry last season, but he is the first running back in school history to receive the 2017 Sun Devils’ No. 1 overall grade from Rivals.
Mendenhall has a good chance to make the team this fall, but it won’t be until after the Pac-12 Championship Game.
The Wildcats are also likely to be without star running back Derrick Henry, who is on the mend from a shoulder injury.
The senior averaged less than five yards per attempt and just one touchdown in seven games last season.
He was also suspended for two games in 2017 for violating team rules.
If the return to full strength doesn’t help, the Golden Eagles could be forced to make changes on the offensive line.
The offensive line struggled to hold opponents to a 38.5 percent completion rate last season with Mendenhill and running back Jalen Williams as the main options, according to Rivals.
But that number dropped to 37.5 in 2019, and Mendenhahall was one of just two running backs in the country to rush for more than 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns.