Penn State's Akeel Lynch will transfer after spring semester
January 13, 2016 5:32 PM
Akeel Lynch says he is transferring from Penn State.
By Audrey Snyder / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s backfield is loaded with young talent, notably Saquon Barkley who rushed for 1,076 yards and seven touchdowns this past season as a freshman.
With a verbal pledge from Woodland Hills running back Miles Sanders in the 2016 recruiting class and former Bishop McDevitt standout Andre Robinson coming off a true freshman season where he took a redshirt, running back Akeel Lynch announced his plans to transfer. Upon graduation from Penn State this spring, Lynch said will use his final year of eligibility to play elsewhere. Lynch, who became the team’s No. 2 back midway through the season, carried the ball 55 times for 282 yards and two touchdowns.
“This has been tough on me because Penn State provided me a home for the past four years, even when times were tough,” Lynch said via a statement on his Twitter account. “During those times, I couldn’t be any more honored to wear the blue and white because being here made me realize that the legacy of Penn State could not be destroyed by one man.”
Lynch, a Canadian who moved away from home to play high school football in Buffalo, recommitted to the Nittany Lions as a freshman after flirting with a transfer to Iowa. During the NCAA sanctions in 2012, Lynch considered the move, paid the $80 registration fee at Iowa but had a change of heart and waited his turn to become the lead back at Penn State.
While Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak ahead of him Lynch patiently waited, but his time as the starter this past season was short lived once Barkley’s emergence became too productive to ignore.
Lynch’s departure also signals the end of an era for the Lions as Lynch’s No. 22, once worn by Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti, was slated to be retired once Lynch’s career was over. Penn State announced plans to retire the number in 2013 and Cappelletti said Lynch would be the final person to wear it.
“I want to thank John Cappelletti for allowing me to wear No. 22 for my four years here and to the fans for their loyalty,” Lynch said in a statement. “Regardless of everything, Penn State will always be considered home.”
Lynch is the fifth scholarship player to announce his transfer in the past three days. Wide receiver Geno Lewis, who much like Lynch was in line for a decreased work load due to the young talent behind him, is headed to Oklahoma. Linebacker Troy Reeder, who started 11 games last season, is transferring closer to home where he’ll play with his younger brother for the University of Delaware. It’s unclear where reserve linebacker Gary Wooten Jr. and reserve cornerback Daquan Worley will end up.
Penn State also freed up three additional scholarships this offseason as quarterback Christian Hackenberg and defensive tackle Austin Johnson decided to forgo their final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft. Scholarship tight end Adam Breneman announced last week his collegiate career was over due to a chronic knee injury.
Audrey Snyder: email@example.com and Twitter @audsnyder4
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