Penn State Football: Why Fans Need to Pay Attention to Akeel Lynch This Spring

John McGonigal@@jmcgonigal9Correspondent IIMarch 31, 2013

Photo Credit to the Centre Daily Times
Photo Credit to the Centre Daily Times

While spring practice has its predictable headline stories, there's always one or two things that surprise fans come the end of camp.

Whether it's the quarterback battle or needed leadership, Penn State has a few of those headliners like any other major college football program. 

But while everyone's attention is on the top news, don't be surprised to see Akeel Lynch's name become a common one in the coming weeks. He landed himself in the local papers after a criminal mischief charge in February, but it seems like he's overcome that and looks primed to have his name in the media for reasons on the field. 

A running back who redshirted last year, Lynch has four years of eligibility and is expected to make a solid dent in the rotation down the road.

However, that impact could come sooner rather than later.

Hailing from Toronto, Lynch played high school football near Buffalo, N.Y., and quietly put up gaudy numbers in his senior year (more than 2,000 yards rushing, 9.5 yards per carry). After being recruited by the likes of Oklahoma and Iowa, Lynch—who reminds some of former Nittany Lion back Silas Redd—landed in Happy Valley.

Deciding to stay after the sanctions rather than becoming a Hawkeye, Lynch now has a legitimate chance to push for playing time in 2013. While it's clear Zach Zwinak has the starting job on lockdown, it wouldn't be far-fetched to think Lynch can assume the second-string role over Bill Belton.

Remember Redd's freshman campaign?

Evan Royster was the obvious starter, but Redd spelled the senior on occasion with 77 carries during his first season. Lynch can do the same for Zwinak in 2013. 

Possessing above-average strength and quickness, on tape Lynch hits open holes hard and seems to glide into open space from there.

That all being said, he likely won't steal the starting job, but keep his name handy. He could be Penn State's surprise coming out of the spring.