There aren’t very many areas of major concern for the Washington State Cougars heading into the 2019 season, but running back is one of them, and it appears Mike Leach might have addressed it in a big way: Deon McIntosh — formerly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Eastern Mississippi Community College — has enrolled at WSU for the summer, according to a report from Braulio Perez of Cougfan.com.
McIntosh was a mid-three-star composite recruit out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, when he signed with Brian Kelly, holding offers from the likes of the Penn State Nittany Lions, Miami Hurricanes and Wisconsin Badgers — and also WSU. He spent two seasons in South Bend, redshirting his first year before a surprising 2017 redshirt freshman campaign in which he rushed for 368 yards on 65 carries with five touchdowns. The highlight was a 12-carry, 124-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 33-10 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
However, he was suspended in the run-up to Notre Dame’s Citrus Bowl for the intentionally vague “violation of team rules” before being dismissed in January 2018. Although Kelly left the door open for his return to the team, McIntosh transferred and spent last season at EMCC (of Last Chance U fame), rushing for 1,150 yards on 200 carries with 17 touchdowns, leading to second team NJCAA all-American status.
As for his recruitment this time around? 247Sports shows no official offers in the 2019 cycle, although the Kansas State Wildcats, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Oklahoma State Cowboys and Virginia Tech Hokies were keeping an eye on him. That’s obviously curious with his production, which suggests that there was some kind of concern about something. I don’t know if Perez’s story offers any kind of insight on that front, since it’s behind the paywall.
If McIntosh is squared away and able to contribute, it’s hard to overstate how huge of a signing this is for the Cougs.
With James Williams’ departure to the professional ranks and Keith Harrington’s graduation, WSU was left with just sophomore Max Borghi with any experience in the backfield. Granted, that’s an amazing place to start, but low RB recruiting numbers plus some transfers over the past couple of years meant it dropped off real fast after that — WSU had to convert a linebacker to running back in the spring (Cole Dubots) and then supplement with walk-ons just to field a serviceable running back rotation during practices. It was looking increasingly likely that at least one of the two incoming freshmen — Jamir Thomas and Jouvensly Bazile — were going to see action right away, with Thomas possibly even ending up as the primary backup.
Now, the Cougs have an experienced back to work in with Borghi who, at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, appears to be a great fit for the Air Raid and has two years of eligibility remaining. Here are some highlights for you to get a glimpse of what he can do:
UNC LBs keyed the TE on this play. Completely vacated left side and allowed Deon McIntosh to be 1 on 1 with the safety. Almost too easy pic.twitter.com/jOuBsUfUaD— Jamie Uyeyama (@jamieuyeyama) October 10, 2017
Daily #QforHeisman: helping give the death blow to UNC on Deon McIntosh's touchdown run cc @rakesofmallow pic.twitter.com/R0PXuiAz10— Jamie Uyeyama (@jamieuyeyama) October 26, 2017