Back in his redshirt freshman season of 2013, Akeel Lynch looked like he had the potential to be the next great Penn State running back. He was stuck behind Zach Zwinak and Bill Belton on Bill O’Brien’s depth chart, but that didn’t stop the Canadian tailback from rushing for over 100 yards against early-season MAC opponents Eastern Michigan and Kent State. Still, Lynch’s inexperience kept him from being a major part of the offense going forward.
He was stuck in a committee once again to start the 2014 campaign, but Lynch looked to establish himself as the lead back in November with big performances against Temple and Illinois. The future looked bright heading in 2015, especially after Lynch exploded for big touchdown runs against Temple and Rutgers, but soon thereafter he was hampered by a leg injury and passed by Saquon Barkley on the depth chart.
Lynch earned his Penn State degree and transferred as a grad student to Nevada before the 2016 season, but he only ended up playing in three games for the Wolf Pack. That October, he announced his retirement from football due to concussion injuries.
Lynch’s football career may not have completely fulfilled its potential, but for for helping to stabilize the running back position when the program was under NCAA sanctions and acting as a mentor to Barkley, he occupies an important role in Penn State history.
Only 22 days until Penn State beats Appalachian State!