“Good job, Arthur.”
“Nice block, Arthur.”
“Good execution, Arthur.”
As Georgia’s up-and-coming strongside linebacker, Williams’ job during practice required he cover freshman tight end Arthur Lynch regularly, and all the praise piqued his curiosity. Who was this freshman who seemed to be playing like a grizzled veteran?
“He’s a smart player,” Williams said. “That’s the one thing I’ve learned. I always hear Coach Lilly saying, ‘Good job, Arthur.’ I’m thinking, man, this guy’s a freshman? He’s got all the intangibles.”
When it comes to developing a strong football IQ, however, Lynch had a distinct advantage.
His grandfather, Carlin Lynch, is one of the most successful high school coaches in Massachusetts football history. But it wasn’t until Lynch retired after 35 years as head coach at Dartmouth High School that his grandson started playing the game.
“I always played basketball or hockey,” Arthur Lynch said. “I thought I was going to play baseball or hockey in college, and I never thought I’d play football.”
Lynch’s first taste of the gridiron came his freshman year at Dartmouth, one season after his grandfather left the program. While he hadn’t played before, the game had always been part of his life, and he picked up the intricacies quickly.
By the third week of the season, Lynch was starting for the varsity team and his new hobby quickly became an obsession.
“That’s when I started considering football for my future,” Lynch said. “I had always watched it, went to all the games, had close family and friends play. It was always in my family, but I was just never pressured to play.”
It wasn’t all football savvy that made Lynch a natural for the game. His 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame made him the prototypical tight end and quickly caught the eyes of college recruiters.
Although he considered several schools closer to home, by Lynch’s senior season, he had a good idea he wanted to be at Georgia. In the SEC, football was king, and he wanted to play against the best players in the country.
It was a tall order, however, to assume he could step in and play immediately, but once again his intelligence made the transition a slightly simpler one.
“The playbook is a lot different so I still have to learn a lot, but in terms of what’s going on on the field, it’s a pretty simple game,” Lynch said. “You want to move the ball forward. If you don’t know who you’re blocking, you just find the next bad-colored jersey, and you go hard every play.”
Lynch’s understanding of the game goes a bit beyond the simplistic, however.
For one, his combination of size and versatility make him an instant play-making threat. He didn’t catch a pass during his first taste of action against Oklahoma State, but tight ends coach John Lilly expects Lynch to play a dynamic role on the offense.
Lynch got playing time on special teams, too – a role he said he enjoys almost as much as tight end. Hitting people is fun, he said, no matter where he is on the field.
Perhaps that’s the other genetic thread Lynch inherited. It’s not just his knowledge of football, it’s an appreciation for what football asks him to do.
“You can tell he’s played football for a while because of his style, how big he is, he never backs down,” said fellow freshman tight end Orson Charles. “That’s what you need in a tight end.”
But Lynch said it’s not all about being that prototypical tight end. In fact, as much as he’s been studying his playbook for the past few months, he’s taken extra time to learn some of the intricacies of the other positions, too.
While Lynch skills and smarts may make him legitimate NFL material in a few years, he’s actually studying for another job, he said – one that runs in the family.
“I want to be a high school coach eventually, so I try to learn a lot. Obviously, I’m trying to learn how to be the best tight end I can be, but I’m trying to learn other positions too just to see what goes on in their heads. I like to be part of the game.”