ATHENS — Georgia freshman tailback Kenny McIntosh opened some eyes in Scrimmage Two, drawing unsolicited praise from Kirby Smart.
A press conference question about tackling and toughness turned into a compliment for the 4-star freshman tailback from South Florida.
“I thought Kenny McIntosh did some good things today,” Smart said following Saturday’s scrimmage. “He continues to improve. He’s got really good balance and he’s been a good blessing. He’s delivered some blows to people.”
McIntosh, a 6-foot-1, 215-pound freshman, has seemingly been growing stronger as fall camp has gone on.
That said, Smart made it clear McIntosh will need to perform well on special teams to “make the bus” — the 70-man travel squad for the season-opening game at Vanderbilt on Aug. 31.
McIntosh said after signing he was willing to do whatever it takes to help the team his freshman season, and special teams contributions is part of what Smart has asked of all the UGA marquee backs.
“His value right now is going to be special teams, initially,” Smart said. “He earns more value by how he plays on those teams. I think it’s new for him. He’s going trough the (Elijah) Holyfield effect, and the (D’Andre) Swift effect, and can I help on these teams, and how do I do it, because I didn’t do it in high school. I don’t know how to block somebody on punt, I don’t know how to cover a kick.’
“But as you train those guys, by Game Five they’re better than the guy that may have done it his whole life.”
McIntosh might surprise his head coach on coverage units. Some schools were actually recruiting McIntosh as a safety.
It’s worth noting there was plenty of skill work done in the McIntosh’s back yard and after practices. McIntosh’s father, Richard, coached him and his brothers all the way through high school.
Kenny’s oldest brother, RJ, is a 6-foot-4, 283-pound defensive lineman who played at Miami and is now with the New York Giants.
Deon McIntosh, another older brother, is a 6-foot, 190-pound speed back at Washington State.
Kenny McIntosh has a running style similar to Le’Veon Bell, possessing great vision and footwork along with acceleration and power.
“We always brag about how Kenny will be the best out of all of us,” Deon told DawgNation last summer. “We all knew he’d be something special.”
Kenny’s high school coach predicted greatness, too.
“Now that Kenny is centered all on football, and it is Georgia football strength and conditioning year around, he’s going to grow into the Incredible Hulk,” University School coach Daniel Luque said.
“He hasn’t really been in a weight program like that year around because he was playing AAU with Team Florida through his junior year.”
McIntosh, who looks up to fellow South Florida product and Georgia back Sony Michel, said before arriving in Athens he planned to play special teams.
“Sony was a first-round pick because he helped his team in a lot of ways,” McIntosh said. “He ran the ball, but he could catch the ball, he could block, and he played special teams.
“So I’m ready to do whatever the coaches tell me to do at Georgia and win championships.”
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