Irish take major hit; Lynch to transfer

University of Notre Dame defensive end Aaron Lynch has left the Fighting Irish football team and will transfer to another school at the end of the spring semester, the University announced today.

Lynch played in 12 games for the Irish as a freshman in 2011, starting six contests. He recorded 33 tackles, seven tackles for loss and five and a half sacks.

“I want to thank Coach Kelly for giving me this great opportunity to attend Notre Dame and be part of the Fighting Irish football family,” Lynch said. “This was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make, but I want to go back home to Florida. I’m grateful to Coach Kelly for understanding and allowing me to return home.”

Lynch's tenure at Notre Dame has been rocky since the recruitment process. He announced in July, 2010 live on NewsCenter 16 Saturday morning that he would play at Notre Dame. Three months later, he de-committed from Notre Dame and said he would play for Florida State. He then made a last minute change the other way again, deciding on the Irish.

Lynch was an instant spark in the Notre Dame rotation on defensive line as a freshman. But his inability to stay committed to Notre Dame continued. Lynch missed practice as recently as last week to take an extended break home over the Easter holiday to figure things out. He returned, practiced with the team this week and made the decision to leave alongside coach Brian Kelly.

“Aaron recently approached me about his desire to leave Notre Dame and return to Florida,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said. “I’ve always known and appreciated the affinity Aaron has for his home in Florida. However, the stark reality is you can’t make it at Notre Dame if your head and heart are not here. I am proud of the effort Aaron made in the classroom and on the field at Notre Dame. I wish him all the best in the future.”

Lynch's departure is a significant blow to Notre Dame's defensive line, the one that will still have a very strong starting unit but not as much depth as the Irish would like. Notre Dame will likely start veteran Kapron Lewis-Moore alongside Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix up front.

Notre Dame has one week left in spring practices and concludes its spring drills with the 83rd Annual Blue-Gold Spring Football Game on April 21.

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