Jordan Lynch finds himself in a precarious spot going into his senior season at Northern Illinois University, much like the school’s athletic program itself. Playing out of the Mid-American Conference (MAC), the Huskies’ leader is looking to build off of all the successes which he had during the regular season and the disappointment he and his team encountered during the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
Northern Illinois was put on blast more than any other team to make it to a BCS Bowl game. While plenty of critics and pundits gave Boise State and TCU a chance on the way to their upset victories, nobody gave NIU a chance, despite the steady improvement of the MAC. Lynch certainly did not look his best under the spotlight, but despite it no longer shining, Lynch will be at his best this year — his last before he enters the NFL draft.
Recall last year was Lynch’s first year starting, after he sat behind current Indianapolis Colts backup Chandler Harnish, who is impressive and likely being groomed for the long-term second string job behind standout Andrew Luck after Matthew Hasselback departs.
Harnish elevated the program to another level, setting 30 program records. Since then, Rod Carey has been promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach, NIU’s third coach since 2010. A so called “offensive guy”, Jordan Lynch will now be able to throw his name into the elite caliber player discussion.
11 of the last 13 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks, and due to the media being alienated by Johnny Manziel as well as Braxton Miller’s soft schedule, Lynch is this year’s longshot for the title.
Nearing the 5,000 total yards mark last year, Lynch has the potential to eclipse that mark and make himself a dual threat before the NFL draft. It will be interesting to see how well Lynch develops at his second year under center in a familiar offense with 16 returning starters on both sides of the ball after spending time this offseason at the Manning passing academy.
“He was an instrumental part of what we did last year, there’s no doubt about that,” Carey said. “But it still wasn’t his senior year. It still wasn’t his team. Now he really feels it is his team. That’s a hunger he has.” Those words of praise are just words. Due to the maligned perception of the MAC, snide analysts will discredit Lynch at every turn.
But, where he faltered last year will only reset the stage giving Lynch the potential to not only prove the critics wrong, but allow the Huskies to continue being the leaders of the pack.
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