- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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USF coach Skip Holtz has picked up quite a few transfers since he arrived in Tampa.
But the biggest one of all came Monday, when the school announced that Notre Dame defensive end Aaron Lynch would play for the Bulls.
Lynch was a Freshman All-American last season, leading the Irish with 5.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hurries, while racking up 33 tackles, seven tackles for loss and a forced fumble in 12 games. He started six of those. The pull of his native Florida has led him back to the school that gave him his first scholarship offer out of Cape Coral, about 2 1/2 hours south of the USF campus.
Unless Lynch is granted some type of hardship waiver, he will be forced to sit out the 2012 season and be eligible for 2013. Now allow yourself to imagine the possibility of seeing Lynch and Ryne Giddins line up at defensive end for the Bulls, a team that has done an excellent job at producing NFL talent along the defensive line.
Giddins is going into his junior year in 2012 and really began to come on strong in the second half of last season. In his first three games, Giddins had six tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss and no sacks. He ended the season with career highs in both categories -- 5.5 sacks and 11 tackles for loss -- as the Bulls ended up second in the Big East with 39 sacks. Giddins was selected to the Big East second team for his efforts.
He continued with a stellar spring, notching three sacks in the recent spring game. There is no question Giddins is one of the top defensive ends returning in the Big East and will be counted on to anchor the defensive line. Lynch, at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, is clearly just as skilled at getting after the quarterback, relying on his athleticism the way Giddins does. Should Giddins stick around for his senior season, opponents will be faced with quite the dilemma -- who gets double teamed?
Lynch was one of the highest rated high school prospects in 2011. His talent is through the roof, but he has been called "mercurial" by some and "tough to coach." Perhaps that is because he was homesick while at Notre Dame. He is said to have a girlfriend in the Tampa area. Whatever the reason for his split from Notre Dame, this should be viewed as a fresh start. USF must do its best to harness Lynch's full potential, to make him more coachable than he was before.
Then the Bulls could have quite the dynamic duo on their defensive line.