Football was the obvious sport of choice for seven-year old Deon McIntosh growing up in south Florida. His older brother Richard, now a freshman defensive lineman at Miami, played. So Deon wanted in. And he got in, including into the end zone.
“In Pee Wee, I would score three to four times a game,” Deon said. “We actually had people in the community come out and watch and bet money on the games. There would be a lot of people that would come to bet. I didn’t really think of it. But yeah, there was definitely money on the line.
“I would play everything – running back, wide receiver, defensive back, kick returner, special teams.”
The second youngest of 10 children, the Cardinal Gibbons product and Notre Dame signeee is the most soft-spoken of them all.
“I would say if he’s not comfortable around you, and even if he is, he doesn’t talk much,” said Debbie McIntosh, Deon’s twin sister. “He’s funny, kind and a loving brother. Deon has always been a good boy.
“We never competed at things because he was just always better, but I’m smarter, though,” Debbie laughed. “I get so excited watching him play. And seeing him do something well. He has good speed, of course. And he’s very good at breaking tackles.”
With Richard at Miami and Deon heading to Notre Dame, the next family star will be the youngest brother Kenny, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound freshman defensive back that already touts offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky and Miami.
“Deon taught me to never give up and to encourage my teammates,” Kenny said. “He does that a lot with his teammates. His quickness, footwork, ability to make people miss and stopping on a dime. That’s what he’s really good at.
“He’s definitely the very chill and laidback brother.”
“I keep to myself,” Deon said. “Everyone is like ‘Deon, Deon!’ and the attention is nice, but I like being low key about it. What’s funny is that in middle school I was a really good player, but I got kicked off the team. My coach said I was being too distracted by the girls. And guess who took my starting spot? My older brother.”
McIntosh may be shy about his skills, but he lights up at the chance to discuss his siblings.
“My younger brother is going to be better than all of us,” Deon said. “And my twin is athletic and runs track. She is going to St. Mary’s near Notre Dame.”
“Absolutely, I want to be near Deon,” Debbie said. “I’m going to St. Mary’s for two years, and then the plan is to transfer to Notre Dame.
“Deon talked about recruiting with me but not many other people. He wanted somewhere he just felt at home. And that was Notre Dame. And he told me that I would like it up there.”
Notre Dame offered McIntosh more than a year ago. Running backs coach Autry Denson made McIntosh a priority target, and it paid off when the hybrid back took an official visit to South Bend in October when the Irish played USC.
The three-star prospect committed to Notre Dame over finalists Miami and West Virginia soon after.
“After the visit and coming back, I knew I wanted to go to Notre Dame,” McIntosh said. “Coming back and letting it soak in for a little bit. I’m around a lot of people that like Notre Dame. A lot of the parents and grandparents of the people down here have connections to Notre Dame.”
Now another McIntosh has a tie to the Irish program. Don’t be surprised if Deon and Debbie recruit their youngest sibling to South Bend during the coming years.
“Deon told me the recruiting process is tough in the beginning, but once you take your visits and experience the people and places, that’s when you really can set the schools apart,” Kenny said. “I want to visit Notre Dame. Deon said the people up there treat you like family.”
Which is surely a priority if you’re recruiting a McIntosh.