FORT WAYNE – Aaron Lynchs short time away from Notre Dame became permanent Friday.
The sophomore-to-be defensive end will transfer at the end of the spring semester, coach Brian Kelly announced Friday.
Lynch was excused from spring practice April 4 for personal reasons and visited his mother, who moved to Ohio during Easter break. He returned to the team Monday, only to leave five days later.
I just saw that he had that body language that we needed to spend more time with him, Kelly told reporters after Fridays practice. As we had dialogue and conversation, got to know a lot more about what he was thinking and what he was feeling, I think our conversations helped him make the decision that was right for him.
The bottom line is, your head and your heart has to be in it to be a Notre Dame student-athlete. The challenges are great here. And if your head and heart is not in it, you just cant be successful here. Aaron and I talked about it and mutually agreed that the best decision for him is to leave the football team.
The Cape Coral, Fla., natives recruitment to Notre Dame was filled with indecision. Lynch originally committed to the Irish then switched to Florida State but reversed course again and enrolled at Notre Dame early last spring.
Lynch played in 12 games with six starts last season. He had a team-high 5 1/2 sacks along with 33 tackles with seven for loss while earning freshman All-American honors. But the 6-foot-6, 270-pounder never settled into life in South Bend.
There is a point where youre either in or your not, Kelly said. Youve got a guy that is young, and you want to see him mature and then you know where you hit a point where its not about growing up, its about where your heart is, so thats where we got to this point in the decision.
Kelly wouldnt go into specifics about Lynchs release from his scholarship, but the coach said Notre Dame wouldnt hold Lynch back. Notre Dame typically does not allow players to transfer to future opponents.
Bulls247.com reported Friday that Lynch could end up at South Florida, which defeated Notre Dame 23-20 at the start of last season.
This was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make, but I want to go back home to Florida, Lynch said in a news release.
Kelly said the Irish have enough defensive line depth to absorb the loss of Lynch.
(Senior defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore has) had a great spring and now gets pushed back to that starting position, Kelly said. We really love what (early-enrollee) Sheldon Day is doing. We havent even put (Bishop Dwenger grad Tony Springmann) and (Chase Hounshell) on the field yet. We feel really blessed that we are able to feel really good about our defensive line, even losing a really good player like Aaron Lynch.
Note: Former Notre Dame linebacker Anthony McDonald will transfer to Kansas after finishing his degree in May, according to the Jayhawks website. McDonald, who will be eligible to play this season, joins former Irish quarterback Dayne Crist and tight end Mike Ragone on former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis first Kansas team.