POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Georgia tailback signee Kenny McIntosh will never forget the day he finally “made it” among his peers.
“The Blueprint!” the PA announcer shrieked over the speakers at Lauderdale Lakes Park after McIntosh, repping the “Vikings” in his 80-pound league, showed pee wee prowess.
Having a nickname in South Florida meant joining an unofficial, but very distinct, group of athletic prospects tabbed for greatness.
“All the good players had nicknames,” McIntosh told DawgNation during a series of interviews last weekend.
WATCH: Kenny McIntosh spins, cuts and accelerates
“There was Touchdown Taylor, The Joystick, Slim and Black,” he said, “and I knew some of the older players in the park had nicknames they went by, too, so I wanted one.”
Richard McIntosh Sr., Kenny’s father, still remembers his youngest son beaming that day.
Georgia tailback signee Kenny McIntosh is shown here with his father, Richard, during his Lakeland Lakes youth football days.
“Oh yeah, you should have seen the smile on his face when he got that nickname,” Richard McIntosh said. “He was really excited about it, and he likes it to this day. I had to explain it to my wife: the reference was to him being the blueprint of a great football player.”
The nickname has, however, become somewhat ironic considering how many plans have fallen through the past six months.
• Sports Illustrated promised to follow him through the season and do a special feature — it fell through.
• Adidas promised him an invite to its all-star game — it was never received.
• Alabama promised him a visit to the Auburn game — it was rescinded the week before.
“I don’t know exactly why things happened that way,” McIntosh said, more puzzled than upset.
“But I know I’m with Georgia now, and I know Georgia wins, and I know they use their running backs the right way,” McIntosh said.
“I know people are going to see me and judge for themselves, and I know I’m headed where I’m supposed to be.”
The 247Sports composite ranks McIntosh as the No. 11 running back in the nation, and the No. 187 player overall coming out of University School in Fort Lauderdale.
But closer film review reveals a chiseled 6-foot-1, 215-pound back who displays the same sort of vision, power and balance as NFL star Le’Veon Bell, albeit, less accomplished at this stage of his career.
McIntosh grew up in a football family, so he understands that adversity is part of life, just like it’s part of the game.
You get knocked down, you get back up and return to the huddle, call the next play and go all out again.
Older brother RJ McIntosh is a former Miami Hurricane now with the New York Giants, having overcome a thyroid condition.
Deon, another older brother, has traveled the junior college route. After spending his first two years at Notre Dame, Deon is now heading from East Mississippi Junior College to Washington State.
“We always brag about how Kenny will be the best out of all of us,” said Deon, who was back home for Mother’s Day. “We all knew he’d be something special.
“I’ve told him to keep his faith and family first, and remember why you are there at Georgia and handle your business. Everything else comes after that.”
Kenny has learned valuable lessons watching his brothers’ careers.
“I watched RJ going through his college career, and I saw how quickly things can change when his head coach and position coach changed, how you have to be ready to adapt,” McIntosh said.
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