Koa McIntyre was in the middle of packing for a football camp in Atlanta at around 7 p.m. last Wednesday when his phone rang.
Shiel Wood was on the other line. Army’s safeties coach wanted to chat with Fremont Archbishop Bergan’s dual-threat quarterback and all-around athlete. After cordial how-you-doings, Wood got down to business and extended an offer to play quarterback for the Black Knights.
“I felt very blessed and excited because it was my first offer,” McIntyre said. “It means I have potential to compete with D-1 athletes and I can actually say that I am one.”
Even casual college football fans know about Army football. The Black Knights, as well as another service-academy school, Navy, run a ball-control triple-option offense full of dives, pitches and quarterback keepers from under center. Air Force and some Group of Fives — Tulane, Georgia Southern and New Mexico to name a few — use a spread version of the triple.
The triple has been known to give major Power Five opponents headaches in early-season matchups. Quarterbacks in that offense need to be quick decision makers. Canny runners. And, yeah, they should be able to complete passes at times. McIntyre checks those boxes.
“It’s pretty heavy-duty down there. You’re always going to have a busy schedule, and it’s where you become a man basically,” McIntyre said of Army. “Running the triple option, they know it’s a big responsibility but they know I can handle it. I run very hard and they know I can throw the ball.”
McIntyre enjoyed a strong junior season at the helm of Archbishop Bergan’s power-spread offense, racking up 3,443 total yards and 48 touchdowns. He threw for 2,205 yards and 31 scores while leading the team in rushing with 1,238 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Nebraska, Iowa State, Northwestern, North Dakota State, South Dakota State and Wyoming are other schools that have been in McIntyre’s ear. On Tuesday, he received a camp invite from South Carolina.
Nebraska, Wyoming and North Dakota State are the schools McIntyre hears from the most. Once June hits, he plans on competing in camps at Nebraska and Wyoming. He wants to see Iowa State and North Dakota State this summer, too.
“I just got off the phone yesterday with (Nebraska inside linebackers coach) Barrett Ruud, he’s a great dude and we’ve been talking for a while now, for almost two months,” McIntyre said. “We try to get on the phone once a week, and he just gives me a lot of information on what they’re doing every day.”
McIntyre wants to play on the offensive side of the ball at the next level, and he’s hoping to show off his explosiveness this spring and summer on the camp scene. At 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, McIntyre’s personal bests in the 100- and 200-meter dashes are 10.9 and 22.1 seconds, respectively. He benches 345 pounds, squats 420 and hang cleans 300.
“Going in as an athlete, I want to play quarterback,” he said. “But if I’m not going to get that chance in college I still want to play offense for sure. I feel like I’m a playmaker and can make guys miss in open space.
“I just want to compete and show everyone I’m still open to recruiting. With that D-1 offer under me, I want it to show other schools that are looking at me that I’m very capable.”
McIntyre’s head coach knows he’s certainly capable. Seth Mruz remembers a certain play during the regular season last fall that really opened his eyes to what kind of an athlete he had at quarterback.
The moment happened at Lincoln Lutheran. Archbishop Bergan called a QB counter in the shadow of its own endzone. The play was slow to develop, but McIntyre took the snap from the shotgun, waited a tick, and followed his pulling left guard and tackle, as well as his running back, into the heart of the Lutheran defense. McIntyre took a couple of false steps to the right to manipulate a couple defenders, quickly ducked inside to his left to get by a linebacker, and turned on the jets back to the right for what turned out to be a 90-plus-yard touchdown run.
“He just outran everybody for 97 or 98 yards. It was one of those where nobody was even getting close to him,” Mruz said. “It was a longer play, so everyone got to see the separation, and then more separation. He passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000, he’s just a talented kid.”
Mruz thinks McIntyre would do well in not only a triple-option offense, but one where the quarterback has the freedom to read a defender and make a play with his arm or legs.
“He doesn’t press or try to do too much, he just does what’s there and takes what the defense gives him,” Mruz said.