There are numerous roads a player can take to make it to the ultimate destination in his college career. Some players commit to one team and play their whole career there. Others have a much more complex road to their final destination. Deon McIntosh definitely falls into the latter category of players. Now on his third college destination, McIntosh finally saw his first real breakout performance this past weekend as the Washington State Cougars beat the Oregon State Beavers 38-28. Overall, Washington State running back Deon McIntosh has had a long journey to make it to where he is today.
Long Road To Pullman For McIntosh
McIntosh played his high school ball in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He would finish his high school career with the second-most career rushing touchdowns and third-most career rushing yards in Cardinal Gibbons High School history. McIntosh would finish high school as the 48th ranked running back in the nation according to 247Sports Composite rankings.
Heading To South Bend
On October 17, 2015, McIntosh made an official visit to South Bend, Indiana. On November 16th of the same year, McIntosh committed to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. McIntosh enrolled in June of 2016 and would sit out his first season as a redshirt. The next season, the redshirt freshman would make eight appearances. In those games, he would rack up 368 rushing yards and five touchdowns. His best performance of the season came in a game against North Carolina. McIntosh ran 12 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
At season’s end, the Fighting Irish had earned a spot in the Citrus Bowl. Everything seemed fine at first as McIntosh headed down to Orlando with his team for the game. However, the running back would be sent back to Indiana following an unspecified violation of team rules. Later that month, McIntosh would be dismissed from the team.
A Stop In JUCO
McIntosh would soon find a new home. The now redshirt junior would find his way to Scooba, Mississippi to join a team that had been receiving a lot of attention. East Mississippi Community College had been featured in the first two seasons of the Netflix docuseries, Last Chance U. Although the series was no longer following the program, they were still a nationally recognized name and were able to bring McIntosh into their program for a season.
That sophomore season was an impressive one for the running back. McIntosh appeared in all 12 games that the Lions played. The team ran the table, including a state and national championship game at the end of the season. McIntosh really filled up the stat book in 2018. He picked up 1,150 yards on the ground and got up to the second most JUCO rushing touchdowns in the 2018 season with 17. He also put together 100-yard games in half of his appearances. One of those 100-yard games was the Mississippi State Championship game against Jones College. McIntosh picked up 112 yards on the ground, with most of those coming on one run. That run came with eight minutes left in the game. It was a 71-yard touchdown that would ultimately be the game-winner in a 19-14 win.
A New Home On The Palouse
The following season, McIntosh found his way back into Division I football when he accepted a scholarship from Washington State. He would appear in all 13 games, including a start against UCLA. The running back would end up rushing for 111 yards with an average of 6.9 yards per carry. He also picked up 113 receiving yards on the season. McIntosh rushed for one touchdown and caught two more touchdowns in his debut season as a Cougar.
Heading into year two in Pullman, McIntosh was expected to back up Max Borghi for most of the season. However, an injury is keeping Borghi out for an undisclosed amount of time. Because of this, McIntosh got to make the start when the team traveled to Corvallis to face the Oregon State Beavers. Unsurprisingly, with the new non-air raid offensive system, the running game was much more relevant. What might be surprising to some, however, was the performance from the redshirt senior. McIntosh burst onto the scene with a 147-yard game. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry on 18 attempts. McIntosh also found the end zone once.
Anyone who has watched McIntosh play in a system that does not ignore the run would have expected him to make some plays at some point. Not only is he fast, but, more importantly, he is shifty. He is incredibly hard to bring down without giving up a chunk of yardage beforehand. He is going to be a major asset to the Cougars this season.
The Florida-native will likely be the starter as the Cougars make their home debut at Martin Stadium this weekend. All eyes in the Pac-12 will likely be on Pullman, as the #11 Oregon Ducks come in to face WSU in the only 4 PM PT game in the conference. Oregon’s defense is more stout than that of their in-state counterpart. If McIntosh can make a statement in that game, he could turn some heads around the nation.
Even if he has an average game, the journey that McIntosh has made up to this point has been nothing short of incredible. From Florida to Indiana to Mississippi up to Washington, the running back has found a home all across the country and has looked like a player who can be a feature back virtually everywhere he has played. At no point has he appeared to give up and now has the chance to be the top running back on a Power Five football team. Also, with this year not counting towards eligibility, there is a chance that McIntosh could spend another season with the Cougars in Pullman next year. After the fans see what he can do this season, they will likely be looking forward to that.