Former Notre Dame DE Aaron Lynch transferring to South Florida

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Skip Holtz has beaten the university that made his dad, Lou Holtz, a legend once again. Yes, just like in the 2011 season opener, South Florida got the best of Notre Dame. Apparently, super soph Aaron Lynch is taking his talents to Tampa.

ESPN’s sources indicate Lynch wants to be closer to his family and his girlfriend. The Cape Coral, FL native is coming home.

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Notre Dame’s Biggest Strength: Possibly Defensive Front 7

In last season’s wins over Utah, Army and USC, the Notre Dame defense allowed an average of just 233.3 yards per game. In the first nine games of the season, the Fighting Irish allowed 393.1 yards per game. After surrendering 20+ points in six of the first nine contests in 2010, the Irish rebounded from their 4-5 start to go 4-0 down the stretch (including the Sun Bowl win over Miami). In that undefeated stretch, they averaged less than 10 ppg against.

The growth and development of the defense is one reason many college football pundits are very high on the Irish this season; and it starts with their fearsome front seven.

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Notre Dame Defense: Too Early 2011 Season Preview

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In 2010, the Notre Dame defense improved dramatically over its 2009 output, making big leaps in scoring defense (63rd nationally to 23rd), interceptions (50th to 19th) and sacks (89th to 54th). Those numbers come mostly from the final four games, when they seem to just “get it,” a stark contrast from the first nine games where they showed potential but were also very inconsistent.  In the final four, including the Sun Bowl win over Miami, the d held opponents to less than 10 ppg. Limiting Army and Utah to just 3 apiece.

The Fighting Irish D return eight players who started at least eight games last season, including junior linebacker and All-America candidate Manti Te’o, who led the team with 133 tackles. He’s a Butkus Award front-runner and a likely first round pick in the next NFL draft.

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (passing game)

Go here for our season preview of the 2011 ND offense (running game)

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Best Defensive End in College Football? Notre Dame, Michigan Have Candidates

Notre Dame senior defensive end tandem of Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson were named preseason candidates for the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Lewis-Moore and Johnson are one of three sets of teammates to appear on the list of 35 players. The other two are North Carolina’s Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss; and USC’s Wes Horton and Nick Perry.

University of Michigan football senior defensive end Ryan Van Bergen was also named to the list; which honors the nation’s top defensive end.

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ND’s Aaron Lynch: one of College Football’s Top Newcomers this Fall

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Of all the players making a name for themselves in the Notre Dame blue/gold game, freshman Aaron Lynch stood out from the pack. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound defensive end, an early enrollee this semester in South Bend, was the talk of the Fighting Irish spring game. Lynch was spectacular in the first half and ended the game with six tackles, 1 1/2 for a loss, and a quarterback rush. He also delivered several of the hardest hits in the game.

There will be lots of impact freshman across the national college football landscape this autumn; Lynch will be among the cream of this crop, so get to know this name now.

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Summary of Notre Dame’s 2011 Recruiting Class

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Given how insane the current weather is in the Midwest is, most local and area schools – including the University of Notre Dame – are closed today due to the snow. But football signing day moves on! And the Irish landed the #12 class according to ESPNU. Seven of the 23 commits are in the ESPNU top 150. It’s a very defense oriented class, and they landed four of the top 12 rated defensive ends.

The Irish football staff starts the day with five individuals already officially in the fold. Five members of the 2011 recruiting class graduated from high school early and enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in January and began taking classes for the spring semester.

Here’s who they are, and later a summary of the 23 Irish additions:

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