Height: 6-0 Weight: 210 Age: 30
Born: 5/7/1985 Cape Coral , FL
College: Appalachian State
Selected By: Cincinnati Bengals
Pick (Overall): 11 (177)
Not since the playing days of All-American linebacker Dexter Coakley (1993-96) has a Mountaineer defensive player made the type of impact Lynch did at Appalachian State. A consummate playmaker, he ranks among the all-time leaders in NCAA Division 1-AA/Championship Subdivision history in tackles, blocked kicks, interceptions, interception return yardage and passes defended.
Lynch also ranks among the Southern Conference and school all-time elite in fumbles forced and fumbles recovered. He is the first ASU player to lead the team in interceptions all four seasons and the first Mountaineer to gain over 100 yards on interception returns in three seasons.
The team was dependent on Lynch, having compiled a 45-11 record with their star safety in the lineup, but only a 7-4 mark with him on the sideline. In games in which he recorded an interception, the team was 22-0. In 2007, Lynch became the Mountaineers' first three-time All-American first-team selection since two-time Buchanan Award winner Dexter Coakley (1994-96) and also became the school's first four-time All-Conference performer since Chip Hooks (1991-94).
A National Honor Society recipient at Evangelical Christian High School, Lynch was a standout defensive back and running back. He was twice selected to the All-State Class A and All-Lee County squads and was a three-time All-Area choice by the Fort Meyers News-Press. He was twice named District XVI Player of the Year, adding Lee County Defensive Player of the Year honors as a senior.
Lynch rushed for 3,000 yards and registered 31 interceptions over his career. He collected 1,101 yards with 11 touchdowns on 120 carries (9.2-yard average), as he also caught 18 passes for 490 yards and seven scores as a senior. On defense, he registered 93 tackles and 11 interceptions during his final campaign.
Lynch enrolled at Appalachian State in 2003, appearing in 11 games while starting the final 10 at free safety. He was the only freshman named All-Southern Conference that season, when he led the team with six interceptions and four fumble recoveries. He ranked sixth on the team with 57 tackles (30 solo), including one for a loss and forced a pair of fumbles. He deflected four passes and gained 14 yards on a kickoff return.
Lynch was limited to just two games as a sophomore. He suffered a fractured left elbow late in the Eastern Kentucky game returning a punt, and underwent surgery two weeks later. He made 13 tackles (nine solo) with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in 2004.
Lynch had a banner 2005 campaign. He ranked third in the league and led the team with six interceptions, including two picks in the Eastern Kentucky game. He garnered first-team All-American honors from I-AA.org and second-team accolades from the Associated Press and The Sports Network.
That season, he was also named to the All-Southern Conference first-team and posted 92 tackles (39 solo) while starting all 15 games. He caused a fumble, had 1 1/2 stops behind the line of scrimmage and batted away seven passes.
In 2006, Lynch was named first-team All-American by College Sporting News and second-team by The Sports Network. The first-team All-Southern Conference choice sat out two late-season games with a right arm (ulna) fracture, but still finished third on the team with 85 tackles (43 solo), including five tackles for losses. He ranked tied for ninth in the nation with a team-high five interceptions and also led the Mountaineers with six pass breakups and three blocked kicks. He also recovered a pair of fumbles, returning one 25 yards for a touchdown.
A 2007 All-American first-team choice and National Defensive Player of the Year finalist by The NFL Draft Report, Lynch added national honors from the Associated Press, Walter Camp and the Sports Network. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the best defensive player in the NCAA Championship Subdivision ranks, as that honor went to Montana defensive end Kroy Bierman. Biermann received 35 first-place votes and 305 points to edge Lynch by five points in the closest Buchanan Award voting in history. Lynch also received 35 first-place votes out of the 105 ballots cast by a panel of sports information directors and selected media.
The Mountaineers' safety gained national attention by blocking a kick that sealed ASU's upset win over Michigan in the season opener, going on to record 111 tackles (71 solo) in 15 games. He made three stops behind the line of scrimmage, caused two fumbles and recovered another. He again led the team and Southern Conference with six interceptions and also batted away eleven throws. He blocked three kicks, returning a blocked punt 33 yards.
In 56 games at Appalachian State, Lynch started his last 55. He ranks sixth in school history with 358 tackles (192 solo), adding 10 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for 24 yards in total losses. He is tied for 10th in ASU history with six forced fumbles and tied for third with eight fumble recoveries, scoring twice while gaining a total of 31 yards on three returns.
Lynch deflected 28 passes and ranks second at ASU with a Southern Conference all-time record 24 interceptions. His 395 yards on interception returns set a school record. His 52 total passes defended established an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision all-time record. He gained 40 yards on two punt returns, 14 yards on a kickoff return and ranks second in ASU annals with six blocked kicks.