Aaron Lynch has always had a flair for the dramatic. Whether it was a recruiting battle that played out like a Friday Night Lights episode, his eye-popping performances in the Army All-American Bowl and the spring’s Blue-Gold game, Lynch came to campus with lofty expectations heaped on him by anybody that followed the Irish.
Brian Kelly and Bob Diaco did their best to tamp down expectations, preaching a dedication to the system and his assignments over utilizing his natural abilities. But at six-foot-six, 265-pounds, Lynch looked ready to contribute immediately and walked onto campus as the best pass rusher on the Irish roster.
After two gameplans kept Lynch’s contributions to a minimum, the freshman was unleashed against Michigan State, playing both inside and out in three and four man alignments. The results spoke for themselves.
Lynch had five tackles, a sack with a forced fumble and six quarterback hits. To put that in perspective, Lynch’s quarterback hits total were been better than the team totals for every game the Irish played last season expect against Utah, when the Irish collectively had eight. In other words — Lynch did more damage getting after the quarterback than the Irish defense did collectively in 12 out of 13 games last season.
Here’s a look at some of the work Lynch did last Saturday, terrorizing the Spartans at the line of scrimmage from both tackle and end positions.