Tim Lynott has accomplished more on the football field than most players his age.
A little over a year ago, the 19-year old graduated from Regis Jesuit HS (Aurora, CO) as the highest recruited player in Colorado's 2015 class. He made the decision to attend CU over more than 25 offers from schools in every "Power 5" conference. The 6'2", 300 pound lineman was recently named a starter as a redshirt freshman and continues building his resume before embarking on the most bittersweet day on his life-- Friday, Sept. 2nd.
The Rocky Mountain Showdown represents the raw emotion of school pride for the Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado State Rams. This year, however, the game has a deeper meaning for Lynott. He'll be playing his first collegiate game without one of his biggest fans watching in the stands, his grandfather, Jack, who passed away suddenly on August 16. The native of Scranton, Pennsylvania was a strong, hard working union man, who instilled the same work ethic in his grandson's life. He taught Tim to have respect for others and live life to the fullest. The best way to honor his late grandfather was the only way he knew how-- leave it all on the field.
"I'm playing for my grandfather," Lynott said. "I'm going to write 'J.P.L.' on the tape on my arm, as a reminder this season to play hard every play from him. I'm preparing that way and trying to focus as much as I can." Lynott's family has pulled him through the difficult time and his parents, Tim Sr. & Gerri, remain the biggest influence in Tim's life. The advise they've given to their son has always been, "Go hard every play and don't stop until the whistle blows."
Some of the upperclassmen on the line line Gerrad Kough, Jeromy Irwin, Alex Kelly, and Sam Kronshage have mentored Lynott to be a better player.
"They've given me many tips on how to play and help me become the player I am right now," he said. "They've taught me different things in terms of plays, techniques and being a leader for me and my other teammates. It's awesome having a bond like that on the o-line. We have a close relationship and the older guys help the younger guys. We try to keep them accountable as the young guys as well."
A change this season was the transition between Gary Bernardi to Klayton Adams as the offensive line coach. Both were a part of Mike MacIntyre's staff last season and shuffle as part of the coaching changes. Bernardi moves over to tight ends/ halfbacks, the position previously held by Adams. Lynott has learned a lot from both coaches since coming to CU and shares a great relationship with Adams.
"He was a very big part of my recruitment and he's one of those great coaches who knows his stuff as well, because he played offensive line in college," Lynott said. "It's been great having him around and he's a great coach. I have a great bond with him already and it's great having him as a coach."
That same bond has developed between the players on both sides of the ball. Lynott has noticed a significant difference during his short time on campus and attributes that to MacIntyre's coaching philosophy. There's no egos representing the Buffs, just a family willing to battle for victories on the field. The goal for Lynott and his teammates this season is one that athletic director, Rick George, set when coming to CU.
"We're aiming for a Pac-12 championship, honestly," Lynott said.
"We're looking for big improvements, we're looking for big strides from last season. We're looking for a bowl too. We need to start winning games and become confident. Just winning. It's one of those things of being the best we can and the best team we can."
Lynott's freshman year could be the start of winning seasons again for the Buffs. The words of winning games and going back to a bowl game have echoed around Boulder since MacIntyre was hired. What sets 2016 apart from years past is more people are starting to see the rise coming full-circle. Lynott hopes to see the process as a starter all the way through to his senior year.