- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Akeel Lynch was wearing a Penn State jacket before he even knew what a Nittany Lion was. Now Lynch (Athol Springs, N.Y./Saint Francis) is set to play for Penn State.
A former Boston College commitment, Lynch pledged to Penn State while official visiting over the weekend.
“It’s exciting because you always dream for them to call and to actually go there is pretty exciting,” Lynch said. “It motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing.”
The old staff at Penn State wasn’t much interested in the three-star running back, though. When Bill O’Brien was named coach in early January, the new coaches reached out to Lynch.
Lynch was already taking visits to other schools while committed to Boston College. Once Penn State began to show interest, he set up an official to State College.
“I always wanted to see Penn State when I was committed to BC. I wanted to make sure I was making the right decision,” Lynch said. “When they hired [the new staff] they contacted me. It’s what I always dreamed about.”
Penn State already has one of the Big Ten’s best running backs in rising junior Silas Redd. Lynch feels he is the complete package and can be a solid supplement to Redd as a freshman before becoming the lead back once Redd moves on.
“I think I’m a complete back, and I can do everything,” he said. “With the help of [running backs] coach [Charles] London, I can definitely be an impact player in a few years.”
As a Penn State fan growing up, Lynch is familiar with the legacy of former coach Joe Paterno, who passed away Sunday morning hours before Penn State received Lynch’s commitment. Lynch hopes to help build upon what Paterno already helped construct at Penn State.
“Joe Paterno built a great dynasty,” he said. “I want to add on to it.”