Last season Aaron Lynch, all 6'6 260 lbs of him, came in as a true freshman at Notre Dame and provided the Fighting Irish with a pass rush they hadn't seen in years. Lynch finished up his frosh season with 5.5 sacks and named freshman first team All-American. This year he was expected to start again on a defensive line that was expected to dominate along with Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix. Today Friday the 13th hit South Bend as Lynch who took a leave of absence last week after getting in a fight with offensive tackle Tate Nichols and a verbal fight with the coaching staff decided not to show up for practice and has decided to transfer.
Brian Kelly addressed the media this morning about Lynch quitting the team. Video courtesy of IrishIllustrated.com
First off this can not be understated. This is a tremendous loss for the Notre Dame football program. You just don't replace a "next man in" guy for Lynch. The same could be said for Michael Floyd and it's one of the reasons why Notre Dame fought so hard to keep him through four years. Lynch is a beast and will be a top 15 NFL pick in the 2014 draft when he leaves after his junior season. No one at Notre Dame who knew Lynch believed he would stay all 4 years because his eyes have been set on the NFL from the get go.
IrishIllustrated.com's Pete Sampson has been on top of the story from the start and had this to say about the Lynch saga.
For starters, I'm not surprised. I referenced this in the podcast yesterday, but the coaching staff was at the end of their rope with Aaron Lynch and the maintenance that had been required to keep him as part of the program. Even after he returned to the program this week, there was never a sense that he was fully invested in Notre Dame or happy to be here.
In the past three semesters I've had a player call Lynch "un-coachable" another player talk about his "attitude problem" and a third try to talk sense into him that he just needed to make it through the first semester of his junior year before leaving, to which Lynch replied that that was too long to wait.
It's my belief Brian Kelly was pushed to the limit with Lynch in terms of accommodation. There's only so much you can do to convince a kid to stick with the program before it starts to undermine your authority with the remainder of the team. I believe Kelly probably hit that point in the last week. While that's not an assertion Notre Dame is better off without Lynch on the team athletically, it's an acknowledgement that the locker room should be improved in its chemistry without him.
From what I'm hearing, it sounds like South Florida is the early leader for land Lynch. I've been told that Lynch already tried to reach out to Florida State. And Florida State hung up.
Now let me tell you what I believe happened in the Lynch drama. The main reason why Lynch was so frustrated with being at Notre Dame was because of his fiance. While Lynch is only 19 and his fiance is still a senior in high school down in Florida he has been adamant about his love for her and the separation was making him depressed. His grades were not an issue and as a starter his playing time had nothing to do with it. It was the mere fact that he was and still is "pussy whipped" and misses his girl. I'm not going to judge because I myself was the same way my first two years of college because like most kids I was a fucking idiot. Lynch couldn't see the big picture (Notre Dame degree to fall back on, plenty of fishes in the sea up at ND and St. Mary's, future millions guaranteed after he leaves his junior season if he stays healthy) and despite his Mom making her best efforts to keep him up there because she could see the big picture herself Aaron had had enough. And apparently the coaches including Brian Kelly couldn't deal with the headache anymore.
At some point all kids have to grow up. Hopefully Lynch will eventually do that. Unfortunately for a program like Notre Dame who hasn't had the type of talent that Lynch brings to the table on Saturdays they will not get to see him mature. But no one person is bigger than the program and team itself.
Lynch quit. Notre Dame will move on and it should. Look for senior Kapron Lewis-Moore to "replace" Lynch at his defensive end spot.