Unsung Lynch figures to be TE weapon

To get ready for the March 20 start of Georgia’s spring football practice, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day and feature one player to watch at that position. Today we look at tight ends and Arthur Lynch.

ATHENS, Ga. -- The risk for a tight end committing to a program like Georgia, with such a strong history at the position, is that it becomes easy to slip through the cracks.

Arthur Lynch struggled with that reality early in his Georgia career with other highly touted players ahead of him on the depth chart. This fall the fourth-year junior will finally get his chance to become a key contributor.

Throughout Mark Richt’s decade-plus tenure in Athens, the depth chart at tight end has nearly always been stocked with future NFL talent. That was the case last season, with the program’s tight end career touchdown leaders -- Orson Charles and Aron White, who both grabbed 10 touchdown passes -- sitting atop the depth chart.

Lynch appeared in all 14 games, but filled roles as a blocker and special teams contributor rather than pass-catcher.

In fact, he didn’t catch a single pass despite often faring well against the Bulldogs’ starting defense in practice. White went so far as to call Lynch the defense’s “kryptonite” because of its struggles in containing the 6-foot-5, 272-pound Lynch as a receiver in practice.

White, a senior in 2011, and Charles, an NFL draft early entrant, are gone now, leaving the position to Lynch and Jay Rome, a redshirt freshman who was ESPN’s top-rated tight end prospect when he signed with the Bulldogs in 2011.

Again, Lynch will face competition from heavily recruited players. The son of former Clemson and NFL star Stan Rome, Jay Rome’s pedigree is well known among recruitniks. Ty Smith, ESPNU’s No. 10 tight end who signed in February, should enroll in the summer and join the competition as well.

But Lynch’s prospect resume is fairly stout itself. ESPN rated him as the nation’s No. 7 tight end when he signed in 2009. Charles was actually No. 15 that year before he emerged as a star that fall. Some scouting services ranked Lynch as high as No. 2, and he was an Under Armour All-American and ESPNU 150 honoree before arriving at Georgia and playing only a supporting role.

White and Charles are now out of his way, however. Lynch and Rome now have their chance to add to Georgia’s substantial tight end legacy, given how Mark Richt and Mike Bobo like to target the tight end in the passing game.

This spring will afford the duo a shot at a starting job this fall, but each player should play a key role in the offense because the Bulldogs figure to deploy both in sets with two tight ends.

Neither player has established much of anything in actual games, however, so spring practices will provide their first experiences as Georgia’s top options at the position. It’s an opportunity Lynch has waited a long time to receive.