From being unrecruited to being named one of the top college players in the country. Fresno State's Garrett McIntyre is one of the true success stories in college football.
McIntyre enjoyed tremendous personal success at South Tahoe High School, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors for Northern Nevada as a senior in 2002. Unfortunately, the recruiters didn't find their way to South Lake Tahoe, not even the University of Nevada.
"They (Nevada) didn't recruit me at all," said McIntyre who found out at the recent WAC Media Day in Reno that he was named the WAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. "I never got a call. Maybe they thought I just wasn't a good player. Our team wasn't very good that year. It was disappointing."
McIntyre was welcomed as a walk-on at Fresno State, and the move turned out to be a great one.
Through hard work, McIntyre played himself onto the depth chart as a true freshman, playing in 12 games and earning one start at defensive tackle. He had seven stops behind the line, sixth-best on the team, that year, and he got his first-ever college sack against Oregon, which he celebrated with a little dance.
"My freshman year, I didn't think I'd play," he said. "Our first game that year was at Wisconsin. I wound up being third-team on pass-rush situations. I was 17 and I was playing in front of 65,000. It was loud. From then on (after that first sack), I knew I could do it; knew that I belonged."
It was the start of something big for McIntyre and the Bulldogs and McIntyre, who has improved dramatically each year. He's coming off his best season ever with 46 tackles, 10 1/2 of those behind the line, and seven sacks.
He had some of his best games against the best teams in the country, which is always nice for your resume and scrapbook.
In a 45-21 win over perennial powerhouse Kansas State, McIntyre had seven stops and helped hold KSU running back Darren Sproule to 37 yards rushing. He had a 10-tackle and two-sack effort in a 33-16 loss to Boise State.
Those efforts resulted in being named one of the top 100 players in the game by ESPN.com and The Sporting News ranked him fourth among defensive ends.
"He's an amazing player," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "He's wired differently from most players. He has a great motor that never stops."
He's able to make plays because he never stops working, ala former 49er defensive tackle Pierce Holt, who had an effective five-year career for the 49ers as an undersized defensive tackle.
McIntyre has been moved to defensive end this year in part because of the development of the Bulldogs' two mammoth inside tackles Jason Sherley and Louis Leonard, and to take advantage of his quickness.
"I wanted to do it (make the change)," McIntyre said. "I'll still play some defensive tackle in certain third-down packages. It's just different techniques (at end compared to tackle)."
If McIntyre got seven sacks from the inside, it's scary to think what he might be able to do rushing the passer from the outside. However, with all the preseason hype swirling around, it wouldn't be surprising to see McIntyre double-teamed extensively on every play.
Another thing that drives McIntyre is that he hates to lose a game or get beat on a play. Whether it's football, grades or a video game, he wants to come out on top. The drive to be the best is what consumes him.
"That's one thing about me, I hate losing," McIntyre said. "Anything I do at home; a video game. Losing for me is the worst."
A measure of a player's greatness is what he does for the players around him. Hill said McIntyre has and does make his teammates better.
"Garrett McIntyre is the type of player who makes everyone around him better," Hill said. "People had to double him a lot last year. Moving him to end means he's going to get a lot of attention which should help the two big guys inside."
And, that will only make Fresno's top-notch defense even better.
Darrell Moody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 881-1281
The McIntyre File
Hometown: South Lake Tahoe
Major: Construction Management