The question of whether South Florida defensive end Aaron Lynch will enter the 2014 NFL Draft or stick around school for another year could soon be answered. Lynch is still only a redshirt sophomore, so he could play two more seasons of college ball in theory, but it’s looking less and less likely that he’ll need even one more.
Inside sources are revealing that the first team All-AAC lineman has been meeting and talking with agents, and that it’s nearly a lock that he’ll sign with one of them, thus ending his collegiate career and beginning a professional one.
Lynch (6-foot 6, 244 pounds) was a heralded, nationally-recognized recruit coming out Island Coast HS (Cape Coral, FS), and eventually signed with Notre Dame. Lynch starred as a true freshman for the Irish, racking up 33 tackles and 5.5 sacks en route to being named a Freshman All-American. Shortly after the season, Lynch came to the conclusion he wanted to play closer to home, thus transferring to USF. Per NCAA transfer rules, Lynch sat out the 2012 season.
In between, Lynch lost a lot of weight in the efforts of improving his speed, going from close to 270 down to low 230s, before finally putting more weight back on. The results probably weren’t what Lynch was hoping for.
Many were predicting huge numbers this year for Lynch. Not only had he put up impressive numbers as a true frosh, but he did so against a typically ferocious Fighting Irish schedule. Now, he’d be a year and a half older, faster and stronger, plus he’d be playing in a weakened AAC. Well, Lynch did get named to the first team all-conference team, but his six sacks (two of which came in the season finale) were probably far less than what he and Bulls fans were expecting.
Despite a successful season in terms of accolades, Lynch’s stock has slowly gone down this year. Once a lock for the first round, that may not be the case right now. He’s still got a ton of physical ability, but there’s an awful lot questions surrounding him both on and off the field.
If Lynch does decide to leave school early as everyone is predicting, he’ll need a big pro day and/or combine to replenish some lost draft stock. He’ll need to put on some more good weight, regain strength without losing his fantastic speed, and show that he’s matured in the last few years.