There’s plenty of practice report video to get to, but the biggest news of the day was Aaron Lynch‘s absence from practice today. While rumors were burning like wildfire across the internet this morning after the rising sophomore defensive end was missing, Brian Kelly was quite clear after practice that nothing major was going on.
“We excused him from practice today. He needed some time to straighten out some personal matters at home,” Kelly said. “There were rumors that he quit or transferred or he went pro. All of that is not true. So we can end that right now.”
Lynch is expected back on campus Monday evening, per Kelly. School resumes after Easter on Tuesday, so his departure from practice might simply be an early getaway day from school, a logical explanation for a guy that isn’t battling for a job during spring drills. Lynch’s disappearance also took center stage on Twitter, where his mother refuted any notion that her son had gone to Florida or was transferring anywhere and instead stated that her son was “at home with me… Stop the rumors!”
Lynch’s relationship with South Bend has been the subject of message-board fodder lately. Some with knowledge of the situation do worry that Lynch’s struggles away from Florida, and his high school girlfriend, make this a situation that’s worth monitoring. But a logical assessment of the soon-to-be-sophomore’s options clearly show sticking it out at Notre Dame is the best option. If Lynch progresses as many expect, he’ll have the opportunity to enter the NFL draft after his junior season, meaning he’ll spend roughly 20 more months in South Bend, meaning it’s all downhill from here. That’s the shortest route to getting done with college, and quicker than any rumored transfer could be, where Lynch will have to sit out next season.
Of course, today’s absence will either be a minor blip in the radar or a massive shake-up in an offseason that already saw freshman Tee Shepard leave school before ever suiting up for a Notre Dame practice. Lynch is slated to be one of the best players on the field for the Irish next season, and any move by him would be the largest offseason news of the year for the Irish. That said, there’s just as likely of a chance that this is the encapsulation of the social-media tidal wave that’s taken over reporting in college sports, where rumors and fodder create and kill stories before a newspaper has time to print the morning news. Ultimately, we’ll find out by Tuesday, when classes resume and next Wednesday, the next scheduled practice.
Lastly, just to speak generally on teenagers and their collegiate choices, allow me a quick rant. The idea that 18-year-olds — whether they be students or scholarship athletes — chose their school based on the city that houses the institution is a bit ridiculous. Having picked a school when I was 18-years old, I can tell you that nobody I know considered South Bend when they chose to attend Notre Dame. Same with friends that went to Marquette, or big-time scholarship athletes that play football at a place like Florida. Gainesville is no mecca of culture, and has nothing on South Bend, but a few mild winter months and stifling summer humidity. USC — placed in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in south-central Los Angeles — still manages to draw people to school for both academic and athletic pursuits. There’s no doubt that geography is a factor for people choosing colleges, and staying close to home is clearly important to some kids. But to say that South Bend is a character in this subplot, might be looking at this a bit too close.