Monday, April 23, 2012
Aaron Lynch saga comes to end
By Matt Fortuna
It began with a conspicuous absence before the ninth spring practice, was quelled by a return from an extended Easter break, and was made official with a hastily called news conference Friday the 13th.
On Monday, the curtains were finally closed on the Lynch saga, ending with South Florida's announcement that the star defensive end will be added to the Bulls' 2012 roster. Lynch is expected to finish out the spring semester at Notre Dame before enrolling at his new school, and he will have to sit out the upcoming season because of transfer rules. The Cape Coral, Fla., native will play for Notre Dame graduate Skip Holtz, who, of course, is the son of former Irish coach Lou Holtz.
"With Aaron originally being from Florida, we're very familiar with the kind of player he is," Skip Holtz said in a release. "Aaron had a great freshman season at Notre Dame, and we're excited to welcome him into the Bulls family."
The official exit of Lynch comes two days after the Irish closed their spring season, one that was supposed to be dominated by quarterback talk while the defensive line -- powered by Lynch -- quietly took care of business and eased the transition for a pair of new cornerbacks.
Instead, Lynch added a new wrinkle to the spring storylines, one the Irish hoped to avoid. The 6-foot-6, 270-pounder is taking his team-leading 5.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hurries, his seven tackles for loss and his vast potential down to South Florida, which didn't even have a football team until 1997. He leaves the other two-thirds of the Irish's young, talented front -- Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix -- behind, allowing fifth-year senior Kapron Lewis-Moore to slide back into a starting role.
In the days after Lynch's departure, coach Brian Kelly called the line's transition seamless. Manti Te'o, whom Lynch called his big brother on the team, said then that he was surprised by Lynch's decision. It took 10 days for the talented defensive end to land at a new home -- albeit one that seemed likely from the start of this episode -- but Monday served as the final act of the Aaron Lynch narrative, the freshman All-American leaving the nation's third-winningest program for one getting ready to celebrate its Sweet 16.