In three or four more games, exit Amir Carlisle. By the summer of 2016, enter Deon McIntosh.
To make an exact comparison between Notre Dame’s fifth-year senior running back-turned-X receiver and the incoming running back prospect from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., might be a bit premature.
Yet there’s no doubt the similarities are uncanny, right on down to the long-range possibility of the 5-foot-11, 170-pound McIntosh perhaps ending up at receiver himself because of his pass-catching skills.
McIntosh already is a somewhat accomplished receiver out of the backfield who also motions and lines up as a wide receiver for Cardinal Gibbons.
McIntosh is a proverbial scatback, change-of-pace runner who is the complement to the power back the Irish have been looking for in long-time verbal commitment Tony Jones from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
McIntosh is a quick, slithery runner with some wiggle that offers a bit of deception with loose hips if not an abundance of make-you-miss skills. He is a fast-twitch athlete with rapid-fire footwork, bounce-out ability, and an overall shifty nature that gives him the same ability Carlisle has to turn a seven-yard catch into an 18-yarder, like the one he had this past weekend against Wake Forest.
For a small back, McIntosh isn’t enamored with east-west running paths, which is a real positive. He’d rather maintain a north-south integrity, whether he’s running the football from the backfield, swinging out of the backfield to make a catch, or running a receiver’s route.
More quick than fast, McIntosh seems appropriately listed at a realistic 4.5 in the 40. It’s uncertain just how well he’ll protect the football with the step up to the big boys’ level, but he appears conscious of attempting to protect the football, which is a good first step. He makes a noticeable effort to either tighten his grip in traffic or wrap a second arm around the football.
His pad level is consistently low with a forward lean. His vision, tied to his shifty nature, also appears to be solid. He’s what we would call a give-and-take runner where he’ll show you a hip and then cut against it.
To be a four-star, McIntosh would have to offer more size, speed and elusiveness. But this is a solid three-star prospect who offers running back skills, slot receiver talent, and return-game capabilities on the next level.
With Tarean Folston expected to return from a knee injury, C.J. Prosise’s anticipated return for a fifth year, and the next step in the evolution of current freshmen Josh Adams and Dexter Williams, Notre Dame’s running back shortage of 2015 should be a thing of the past by 2016.