April 4, 2011

Blessing in disguise

Tight end Arthur Lynch said he wasn't offended when coaches asked him to redshirt in 2010, but when the question was initially posed he momentarily considered his immediate future and whether or not Georgia would still be a part of those plans.

After all, after playing in 11 games as a true freshman with one start, the thought of not getting to suit up last fall was something that never crossed his mind.

Upon being faced with that scenario, Lynch admits the idea of returning closer to his Dartmouth, Mass. home did crop into his thinking, before some advice by the two people he trusts most helped convince him no change needed to be made.

"I wasn't offended (when he was asked to redshirt), but it was definitely a question mark in my mind, so I stepped back and asked if this is the place for me and can I get everything I want out of college football, what I want to come true for my dreams, my goals," Lynch said. "I had a huge talk with Coach (Mark) Richt and Coach (John) Lilly, my mother and my grandfather - the two most influential people in my life - and they were like I can't find a better place in terms of football. I'm doing well academically, I fit in socially … they told me 'this is the place for you.'"

Richt's certainly glad Lynch made the decision he did.

At 6-foot-5 and a weight that Lynch said "fluctuates between 268 and 272 pounds, the redshirt sophomore will team with veterans Orson Charles, Aron White and incoming freshman Jay Rome to give Georgia what should be a position of strength for the Bulldogs this fall.

"We want him to (contribute) and we expect him to. He's hungry," Richt said. "We just wanted to separate him from the pack as far as his eligibility and years that he will have. We had enough depth last year where we thought we could do it."

On most teams, Lynch might already be a starter.

A bruising blocker who is a also a better receiver than some might think, Rivals.com rated Lynch the nation's second-rated tight end coming out of high school in 2008.

However, that was also the same year the Bulldogs signed Charles, rated by Rivals as the country's seventh-best player overall.

"I happened to come in with a blue chip guy as well, but Orson works his butt off and I feed off him and how hard he works. I think he does the same with me, Aron, too," Lynch said. "It (redshirting) was tough for me, but after the emotions were over and I sat down, I realized this could be a good thing for me. I've matured and I've grown a lot. As a freshman, I was probably immature a lot; a lot of us are, on the field, anything."

Still, all the initial uncertainty even had friends back home in Massachusetts wondering what Lynch might do next.

Nearby Boston College was initially going to be Lynch's college home before changing his mind to head south, and when rumors started percolating that could still happen, he started getting calls.

Among them was one by Lynch's best friend Sean Sylvia, currently a redshirt freshman defensive back with the Eagles.

"At the time he said he was going to B.C. and said he's love to have me, but if I had, that would have been conformity," Lynch said. "Not to boost my own spirits, but nobody left home to go to another school. We had a guy go to Connecticut and my friend (Sylvia) went to B.C., but I chose here for a reason. I always try to make decisions with my gut. So why would I leave? I love it here. It's definitely one of those things I would have regretted if I had left."

So Lynch did the only thing he could last fall and used the time to get better in every aspect of his game, including footwork and route running.

"I needed to improve what I needed to improve on but also, I asked myself why not just inflate what I already have?" he said. "I could get bigger, stronger and faster and I think that's really helped me. Now, I've put on some weight, some good weight and I dropped some body fat. Fundamentally I think the redshirt helped a lot."

Still, considering the fact that in last year's G-Day Game he caught two passes for 51 yards and a score, not being able to compete last fall was certainly no fun.

"When they would go on the road I would just go back to my room to do laundry and hang out with the baseball guys," he said. "But I think in the long run, I had a life-changing moment when I talked to my mom and my grandfather about it about my future. I think it was a blessing in disguise."

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