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Penn State Football: It's Go Time As Lynch Finally Takes Over Top Spot

by on July 14, 2015 6:00 AM

No matter his talents, Akeel Lynch has always been at the bottom of the pile. Running backs Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak have had a strong hold on the rotation in the backfield. Simply put, there are only so many carries to go around.

And so much of Lynch's career has been simply waiting his turn. Occasionally, playing time has come his way. At other times he has had to watch helplessly from the sidelines.

Lynch's story is not unlike that of most college football players: simply having to wait. And wait. So much has changed at Penn State, and yet so little has changed for Akeel Lynch.

Until now.

"Akeel Lynch now is the oldest running back in the room, a year ago I was the youngest, now I'm the oldest," Lynch said with his trademark smile this weekend. "So a lot has changed in the past year. The responsibilities have been put on my shoulders to lead the young guys. I think it has gone well, being under Zach and Bill for three years learning what to do and what not to do. I'm just handing that down to the young guys now."

Those young guys, a quartet of backs in Mark Allen, Nick Scott, Saquon Barkley and Johnathan Thomas are, much like Lynch once was, the future of the running back position at Penn State. And much like Lynch, some of them will have to wait, others will see the field early and often. It is the nature of the beast.

Now facing the responsibilities that come with being the No. 1 back, Lynch won't let go of the drive that got him to this point. Could he have contributed more earlier in his career? He won't bite. He'll just smile as he always does.

"The day I got here I had a chip on my shoulder to be the starter," Lynch said. "I think that's what every high school recruit coming to college aspires to, to be the starting running back so it's the still the same chip that I had since the day I got here to prove that I can be the guy."

And now he is.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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