Aaron Lynch always seemed like he wanted to play football in his homestate of Florida, but after one season on the field for the Bulls, the redshirt sophomore has declared for the 2014 NFL Draft.
First a commit to Florida State, Lynch's final three schools came down to instate Florida and Miami, and Notre Dame. After one year of quality football at Notre Dame, the Freshman All-American transferred to the Univeristy of South Florida to move closer to home, which was two hours away from USF's campus. Unfortunately for Lynch, his waiver to play as a true sophomore didn't go as planned, and he had to sit out the season due to NCAA rules. Instead, he took a redshirt year.
During his time at Notre Dame, the freshman was known for J.J. Watt-like plays from the defensive end position. At USF, he was listed at about 25 pounds lighter than his time in South Bend. One of the issues some have with Lynch is that he's lost the weight to be a 3-4 defensive end, but he still played like one at USF, compared to a true edge-rusher, which his build would suggest he'd be at the next level. Instead of going around or through AAC offensive tackles, he tended to stick close to them in 2013.
Essentially, Lynch just needs to decide what type of player he wants to be and have his body reflect it, because currently they're not meshing. If he wants to bulk back up, he can play the same style of football that he's played in college at the next level. If he wants to stay in the 240s, his game has to change.
Coming into the season, Lynch was pinned as one of the biggest names as far as underclassmen and impact transfers were concerned (). That is not to say he had a dissappointing season, but that it did not exactly go according to the book. He told TampaBay.com that he wasn't, “in [his] groove,” until the last game of September against the Univeristy of Miami, a school in his final three as a senior.
While his name isn't buzzing around the same way it was in the preseason, he managed to rack up 11.5 tackle-for-losses and five sacks in 12 games for USF in 2013.
The 6'5” defensive end has a mean streak that many coaches will like. While at Notre Dame and in high school, he was known for going a bit overboard with that mean streak, though, sometimes resulting in penalties. While still in South Bend, he had this to say about his penalty situation: “I'm going to get some yellow flags, because that's the way I play football."
While reports of his maturity advancing at USF are abundant, his head coach did tell him: “Aaron, when you're happy and smiling, you play well. But when you're unhappy and upset, you don't.”
Up and down is a very good way to describe Lynch to this point in the process, but it wouldn't, and shouldn't, surprise anyone to see him sneak back into the first round conversation. Whenever someone performs at the level he did as a freshman, someone will be out there to give him a short early and often.