Lynch to Leave ND

The seemingly never-ending saga of Aaron Lynch took yet another turn this morning. Just in case you have lost track, Aaron Lynch has: Committed to ND, committed to FSU, re-committed to ND, played an awesome freshmen season, rumors of homesickness, got into a fight with Tate Nichols during practice, left ND to deal with a family matter, returned to ND on Monday, and then this:

To quote Beavis and Butthead:

As far as the reason why Lynch is out, all ND has officially said to this point is that Lynch decided it would be best for him to go back home and transfer to a Florida school. Kelly issued the usual company line of players needing to have their “head and heart” 100% all-in to ND to succeed as expected. Unofficially though, rumors have been flying over the internet for quite some time about how Lynch would prefer to be in Florida over ND because of the weather, his home, his girlfriend, or a combination of all three. These rumors are not completely unfounded either. Lynch has mentioned some of his homesickness struggles in interviews and even his Twitter feed as well.

What has not been mentioned publicly though is the relationship with his teammates. Thanks to GrantlandX, we are able to get a full picture. Our anonymous student reporter (who, just to be clear, is not officially affiliated with the football team) was able to talk to some members of the team and shared some of his insights on Twitter today:

Of course, after seeing this, we definitely wanted GrantlandX to expand on his tweets. And expand he did:

It was apparent in the 2011 football season that Lynch has a temper — he racked up the personal fouls and cited that that’s just how he plays, and it’s bound to happen — but that temper would often spill over from just game time. Lynch had an arrogance about him, carried himself as “better than you” to both non-athletes on campus and his teammates, and that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I personally have seen him had to be restrained by teammates when he tried to fight a student for apparently “giving him a weird look”. He has this strange, crazy edge to him.

Players on the team also weren’t afraid to call him a hothead and say he needed to calm down, but that’s just not in his DNA. He was frequently picking fights and arguments, which eventually culminated in the highly publicized, all-out brawl in practice with offensive lineman Tate Nichols that ultimately led to his departure from the team. While this was the most extreme example of his disconnect with his teammates, it was not his first altercation with some of them. The locker room will without a doubt be a better place without such a strong voice of dissent in it.

Now, to be fair, plenty of teammates like Aaron Lynch, and it wasn’t like he was ostracized or alienated from the team. He is with them all the time, and they are indeed friends, even if they have disagreements. His temper and relentless, in-your-face competitiveness would get on anyone’s nerves, but teammates aren’t thrilled about him leaving. Having talked to several players after the news broke, they mentioned that they wish he would stay, but he had to make the decision for him, and Notre Dame was just not the place for him. Players said that he was a player that could’ve had a huge impact, but “we will be fine without him” too. And that’s just it right there. Brian Kelly has always had that “next man in” philosophy, and it appears that Kona Schwenke could be ready to step into Lynch’s role right now. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for Kona.

Now with the whole picture in front of us, it is easy to see why Lynch decided it would be best for him to leave. Being homesick alone is rough, I went through it too just about every winter in South Bend myself (especially when I came home during the winter); however, I never felt like my personality was at odds with my friends on campus and I never felt out of place. It definitely seems that Lynch likely didn’t have that same comfort level and that missing piece simply cannot trump homesickness.

It sucks to see Lynch go, but thankfully Notre Dame, for the first time in a very long time, is stacked on the D-line. As GrantlandX pointed out, Kona Schwenke is having a hell of a spring and with this team’s “next man in” mentality, he now has a big chance to step up. The other two members of the line, Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt aren’t exactly pushovers and will only improve in 2012.

As far as Lynch’s next destination, rumors thus far have him going to the University South Florida. Yes, that would be the same South Florida that has a Holtz on the sideline and will scoop up yet another Irish turnover. The irony is not lost on me.

Happy Friday the 13th…

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  • The Biscuit

    I expect KLM to fill the void over Kona this Fall. But both will play…

  • Grantland-X

    One other unrelated note about Lynch’s departure, but no less significant, is his relationship with his old high school girlfriend. Aaron Lynch has tweeted numerous, numerous times about how badly he misses that girl, and has wanted to rejoin her in Florida since the day he left for school. He told teammates that he couldn’t stand to be without her. Pretty ironic that such a tough, mean player had such a soft side that factored greatly into his decision to leave. His mother, Alice Lynch, has always been in Notre Dame’s corner and been the voice of reason to Aaron, stressing education over young puppy love, but what Aaron wants, Aaron eventually gets.

  • kyndfan

    Excuse me, I have to go find the nearest bridge….on second thought, I think we’ll be ok. He’s a stud, but right now our stable is full.

  • SDI

    There is no denying that this is a big loss for the defense and the team. Lynch was a special talent. But Tex is right in pointing out that ND has a bunch of other really talented defensive lineman ready to step into the breach. Tuitt, KLM, Nix, Schwenke, Day, Hounshell, Springman with Jarron Jones arriving this summer. Even with Lynch gone this is probably the second strongest position group on the team after Oline. It really sucks losing a player of Lynch’s caliber, but given the depth at that position, I don’t think this is the disaster some have made it out to be.

  • Pat

    Go Irish.

  • http://IrishIllustrated Patrick Nacol

    In spite of being brought up by and surrounded by great people – especially his Mom – he does not have the character for Notre Dame. It’s probably as much about the decline in our culture as it is in his lack of character. He feels entitled and better than everyone else. Other peoples feelings pale in comparison to his wants and desires. His gifts are great and much is expected. His feelings of “homesickness” are experienced by virtually every College student. I remember them well; I’m from the same Florida area AL is from and I went to College outside of Florida. Notre Dame will be fine. What is so sad is seeing someone with the gifts and blessings given to AL behave so badly and show so little appreciation for them.

    • NDtex

      A “rough around the edges” attitude or being extremely homesick is a long jump from lack of character.

      Some people just don’t fall in love with Notre Dame or have trouble finding their place there. It is hard as alumni (and subway alumni as well) to wrap our minds around that fact because we simply can’t think of a better place to spend four years of our lives.

  • Mark G.

    Agree that to say he lacks character is (i) unsubstantiated and (ii) rough thing to say about a young kid. He wanted to go home – maybe he missed his girlfriend, the warm weather, the rest of his family – who knows? Maybe he was tired of the effort ND takes in the class room, in the study hall, etc. We know he could be a wild man on the field, at times quite unblockable; it is understandable that such a wild horse might chafe under the reigns of the ND regimen (wake up, lift, go to class, practice, go to mandatory study hall, sleep … and then wake up and do it all over again, and again, etc.).

    The team will miss his skill and motor, but it is not the end of the world. Let’s follow Kelly’s lead and wish him well, and not fall into a Les Miles like example of questioning his heart or head.

  • brad

    wouldnt it be funny if he meant homesick as where his mother currenlty lives and ends up at ohio state. the irony would be that meyer somehow got in there when he was down and got him to switch schools.

  • Felipe

    So, Lynch is a bully? What a tool.

  • IrishBrian21

    The few minutes of practice I’ve seen of Sheldon Day look like he could be ready for playing time this fall. KLM, Tuitt and Nix with Schwenke, Day and Hounshell taking meaningful reps.. we’re going to be just fine..

  • fossilman

    Aaron Lynch is certainly a super talent. I’m sorry to see him go but I truly believe its for the best. If his heart and head is not in it his performance will eventually suffer. The right thing to do is wish him well and move on. ND will coninue to recruit tons of talent that will fit Brian Kelly’s philosophy. Don’t look back lets keep moving forward.

  • canuck75

    This news brings me back to the site. As always, there is a more reasoned and restrained response here. It sounds like he simply wasn’t a good fit, and probably didnt buy the Notre Dame mystique.
    When I was a student I was never homesick even in my last two years with a great girlfriend at home.
    Its too bad, but its a team game. He actually didn’t play spectacularly after the MSU game, but there is no doubt he dominated that game. But I have to admit I was lookin forward to him whacking Denard.

    • Physical Ed

      It appears to me that he is an immature punk. Guys like Aaron are trouble, the team is better off without him. I’m glad he’s gone. Watching his interviews I would think to myself that this guy is an embarassment to Notre Dame, because he has no class. Give us more like Teo and Schwenke. Go Irish.

  • FightingSonOfNotreDame

    Thank you, this post has helped me move toward the acceptance phase of my grievance cycle. It may even salvage my weekend.

    I don’t think it’s inaccurate to call this a lack of character. I understand the homesickness which I partially experienced my freshman year. But he’s abandoning the team he chose, the same guys that have dedicated themselves and made a commitment to improving Notre Dame. That’s weak character.

    I’m sorry but these guys with the homesick BS are pussies. They may have a mean facade (probably as a cover) and may be incredible athletes but they’re mentally weak.

    All in all the team is developing the right team first mentality. I had the wrong impression of Aaron, I thought he shared that mentality. As it turns out we’re better off without him.

    Next man in.

  • Fitz

    I’m sorry to see him go. He is probably gone, but who know. If he took the Chris Stewart route, I wouldn’t be surprised, either.

    • tjak

      The Chris Stewart route…….I am done with Aaron Lynch. I wish him well, but I am done with him. I have a family and a career and a life, and I have wasted way too much of my time fretting over what this kid and kids like him decides. No more, I will cheer on the boys who commit to Notre Dame. Coach Kelly deserves a break and some momentum. Look forward to cheering for “The Team” in the fall.

  • MJB

    Unfortunately Lynch has not only given up on Notre Dame football, but more importantly on the degree from Notre Dame. He may be good enough for pro football, but if not or an injury occurs, he’s left like the rest of so many athletes with nothing.

    Maybe he’ll choose Southern Cal, where he can continue his “ballroom dance class” through the college football process. So long Aaron, I think when you grow up, you’ll regret your immature decision!

  • Brian

    I don’t begrudge anyone for doing as they please but I think it’s pretty obvious there was more at play here than home-sickness and a long distance relationship. Sadly, I think Ed’s comment above is spot on – Lynch is a punk. Hopefully Skip Holtz can harness this and guide him toward a pro career. …but if he ends up at a school with a weak head coach and loose rules regarding behavior, he’s likely to implode.
    Regardless, our d-line will be just fine. Go Irish.

  • The Biscuit

    I think the ‘punk’ comments are BS. You guys know nothing about the kid or his situation. Yeah, we have indications that he was a hothead and didn’t get along well with some guys, but putting down a player that you just recently semi-worshipped is too much for me. We can talk about reasons, we can talk about situations, we can talk about what we wish had happened. But please, let’s be adults and save the name-calling for our enemy programs and rivals. Let’s not call a 19 year old kid names, okay?

    • NDtex

      100% agree with Biscuit.

      Anyone that thinks we released this information to trash Lynch or paint him as a “punk” or “bully” missed the point. The information GrantlandX provided fills in missing pieces of additional information as to why he left.

      Just re-read the closing paragraph–it’s all about additional perspective.

  • IrishLion

    In reference to Kona stepping up into Lynch’s place, I think Kona is actually listed as the no.1 nose tackle ahead of Nix right now. I think Tuitt and KLM anchor the ends, with Kona working in often at nose as Nix regains his job at some point… Unless we are talking about Kona taking Lynch’s place as an inside DT on the four-man front in passing situations and against the option, in which case my point is null.

  • TXIrish2

    Good post, good comments. Lynch was talented, and I was looking forward to seeing him relentlessly pound opposing quarterbacks, but from what I read, it seems it was for the better. I feel good vibes.

  • IrishFan1969

    I can only imagine what Aaron is thinking about now that the Irish are 8-0. Maybe the chemistry is better without him. Could you imagine what the “D” would have looked like with him in the mix with a team first attitude.