Jan 7, 2011, 6:07 PM EDT
The recruiting saga of Aaron Lynch, one-time Irish commitment, recent Florida State pledge, and soon to be early-enrollee, has taken another u-turn. And this time, it appears it’s in the Irish’s favor.
The last time the Irish and the Seminoles battled for a recruit like this, the guy ended up in the UFL.
Well, maybe we’re skipping a little too far ahead in the story, but Notre Dame fans have to remember the epic recruiting battle for the five-star running back Lorenzo Booker, who had all but committed to the Irish when a last second phone call to Booker by a Seminoles’ assistant coach flipped his decision. As Irish fans looked on in horror, Booker put on a Florida State hat on ESPN, squirting lemon in the eye of both Ty Willingham’s coaching staff and members of ND Nation everywhere.
That Booker never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season at Florida State, bounced out of the NFL to the UFL before resurfacing in Minnesota this season as a kick returner isn’t the point. The point is that Notre Dame and Florida State are once again engaged in battle royal for a blue-chip recruit, and the Irish just might have pulled the rug out from under the Seminoles at the eleventh hour.
As IrishSportsDaily.com reported early today, Lynch has defied all odds and decided to schedule a recruiting visit to Notre Dame for next weekend. Just days after “getting closure” with wide receivers coach Tony Alford, Lynch has gone the other direction, giving Irish fans reason to salivate that Notre Dame could add Stephon Tuitt, Lynch, and potentially Ishaq Williams to their front seven from the US Army All-American rosters in San Antonio.
Catching up with Lynch in San Antonio, just four days after getting the closure comments from the talented defensive end, here’s what Lynch had to say to Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated:
“I’m all screwed up right now,” Lynch said. “That’s all I gotta say. I’m all screwed up right now.”
Adding to the dilemma, Lynch’s early enrollment at Florida State is seemingly all but off the table, with the spring semester starting in Tallahassee on January 4th.
As for the legendary status of Alford among ND recruitniks, this quote is sure to go to the top of Alford’s resume.
“It’s not like he’s been staying on me, he’s just been a father figure throughout the whole thing,” Lynch said. “He’s just been there the whole time, just talking to me. They’ve just been by my side the whole time. They haven’t given up. A lot of colleges, ‘Oh we don’t have a chance. Well, if you say this we’re going to stop.’ Notre Dame didn’t care, they just kept coming and coming and coming.”
(Score another one against the myth that Brian Kelly and his staff wouldn’t be good recruiters.)
Outside of Alford’s dogged work, you’ve got to wonder what factor Lynch’s arbitrary workout outfit played in this entire swing. If you ever believed in the power of Twitter, consider that early on in San Antonio, Lynch was spotted wearing an ND workout shirt to practice, forcing one writer (this guy) to point and wonder on Twitter. Follow the chain to Sampson, who was actually in San Antonio and spoke with Lynch, who at the time said there was no chance he was coming to South Bend. Who knows what happened after that, but it ended with Lynch scheduling a visit to South Bend next weekend, just days before Notre Dame starts classes and Lynch hypothetically enrolls in school.
Of course, there’s likely a few more twists and turns to this story and Lynch’s decision to visit is far from him actually committing to Notre Dame. As we saw with Booker, these stories often times are anti-climatic. But for the time being, we can all thank Aaron Lynch for keeping things interesting…