Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh: ‘It’s our time now’

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

ATHENS — Kenny McIntosh believes he was better prepared than most for what awaited him at Georgia. The senior running back is the youngest of five brothers, the oldest of whom are in their 30s.

All of them played football, including their father, Richard McIntosh. R.J. McIntosh, aka Richard Jr., currently plays defensive line for the Indianapolis Colts. Deon McIntosh just completed a college career that started at Notre Dame and ended at Washington State. He’s a running back like Kenny.

It was R.J. and Deon, primarily, that Kenny McIntosh had so many backyard battles against back home in Pompano Beach, Fla. That prepared him for the competition he’d face for four years at UGA.

“My daddy taught me to never be soft,” said McIntosh, who went on to star at Fort Lauderdale’s University High and become a four-star prospect. “My brother’s 6-5 and in the league, and I’m 6-1 right now, so he’s still bigger than me, but I’m still going up against him. I just had that heart at a young age. My dad taught us to compete, so give it all to my dad and my brothers.”

Now a senior for the defending national champion Bulldogs, the youngest McIntosh has a chance to outshine them all. After flashing greatness throughout his career, McIntosh is set to take over in Georgia’s backfield.

Never a solo act with the Bulldogs, McIntosh will share time with juniors Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards this season. But as his production the past couple of seasons illustrates, McIntosh is the most versatile and multiskilled of the bunch.

To date, McIntosh has rushed for 753 yards and six touchdowns, while also catching passes for 256 yards and two scores. He also enters his final season as Georgia’s leading kick returner with 14 for 375 yards.

His career arc closely matches that of James Cook, who finished with 1,503 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns, along with 730 yards receiving and six TDs. Forged out of the South Florida rec leagues like Cook, the 6-1, 210-pound McIntosh relishes the comparisons to his now-former teammate.

“I’m ready to take on whatever Georgia has for me, special teams, whatever my team needs me to do to win,” McIntosh said after a spring practice workout last week. “Whether they throw it to me or not, I’m good. … But I thank God for giving me the best hands. I love to catch the ball out of the backfield and stuff like that. The coaches trust me to catch the ball, and hopefully I’ll be that dual threat like James.”

“I feel like I've got a bigger role to fill, a bigger load on my back. So, I've got to step up a little more, be more vocal, be a bigger leader than I was last year."

- Bulldogs running back Kenny McIntosh

He will. But the Bulldogs will look to get Milton as much work as possible as well. Milton has been more limited in playing the last two seasons due to injuries. But the former five-star prospect has shown enough in 15 career games for Georgia coaches to know they want to see more of him.

Of the two, the 6-1, 220-pound Milton is considered the more physical runner. But Milton enters his third season wanting to prove his versatility as well. He has three career receptions.

The same goes for Edwards. Both McIntosh and other Georgia players have warned, “don’t forget about Daijun.” The 5-10, 201-pound junior had 51 touches and three TDs a year ago.

The backfield mates insist there is no animosity among them. There’s opportunity enough for all.

“It’s been like that since Cook and Zamir (White) were here,” McIntosh said. “We want to compete and make each other better every day. He helps me, I help him, we’re brothers in all this. So, yeah, we compete, but at the same time we’re getting each other better. Who doesn’t want to get better?”

McIntosh definitely has. And he’s ready to pass on that knowledge.

In May, the running back room will have to find two more seats for touted incoming freshmen Branson Robinson and Andrew Paul. McIntosh and company can’t wait to show them the ropes, the same way they were.

To be sure, though, McIntosh feels his time has come.

“I knew this was going to come. To be honest, I’ve been waiting on it,” McIntosh said. “I feel like I’ve got a bigger role to fill, a bigger load on my back. So, I’ve got to step up a little more, be more vocal, be a bigger leader than I was last year.”

McIntosh’s teammates like what they’ve seen from the backfield.

“They’re solid leaders,” center Sedrick Van Pran said. “Those guys come to work every day. And they were productive when they were playing supportive roles. I think they’re going to have the opportunity to really take on the load and be what James and Zamir were to our team last year.”

Specifically, those two were good for 1,943 yards and 22 touchdowns. McIntosh isn’t awed by those numbers.

Said McIntosh: “We know we’re capable; we know we’ve got potential. It’s our time now, and we’ve got to be ready for it.”

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