Once upon a time, Matt Lynch had dreams of playing quarterback for the Colorado Buffaloes.
That opportunity never came to Lynch, but after a detour to Los Angeles, he’s happy to be in Boulder and playing tight end for the Buffs. This summer, the Legacy High School graduate joined the CU football team as a fifth-year senior walk-on.
“That’s a big thing,” he said of returning home. “Coming out of high school I always wanted to come to CU and (was) not given that opportunity. Now given it, it’s been a blessing. It’s somewhere I always wanted to be, being back home by the family and actually having family members come see – hopefully. Having them around to see my fifth year is really meaningful to me.”
A three-year starter at Legacy, Lynch threw for 1,947 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior with the Lightning in 2015. Rated a three-star recruit by 247Sports.com, Lynch never got a scholarship offer from CU, but signed with the Buffs’ Pac-12 rival, UCLA.
For three years, Lynch played as a backup quarterback with the Bruins, completing two of the three passes he threw, including a touchdown. Last year, he switched to tight end and caught a touchdown pass against Arizona.
Still new to the position, Lynch adds much-needed depth and experience to the Buffs tight end room. He and returning starter Brady Russell are the only tight ends on the roster to catch a pass at the FBS level.
“I wish I had the opportunity to work with him for a few years,” CU tight ends coach Taylor Embree said. “He is a good, solid tight end in both the run and pass game. He’s got a lot of length. We’re happy to have him. He’s gonna be playing a lot for us this year, but he shows up in working; he is a blue collar guy. He’s strong at the point of attack, and he’s got some juice to him in the pass game.”
Embree knew the type of person he was getting when Lynch decided to transfer to CU.
“My relationship with him goes back to high school,” Embree said. “I helped recruit him to UCLA when I was a (graduate assistant) there. So it’s cool seeing that come full circle. He’s a real high IQ guy when it comes to football and in school. It’s been a blessing to get Matt and I think he’s going to make some plays for us.”
Despite his years at quarterback, Lynch said the transition to tight end wasn’t too difficult last year.
“Probably one of the most difficult things would be the run blocking footwork and just being a little bit more physical,” he said. “At quarterback, you’re stepping back in the pocket, you’re not getting touched during practice. But one thing that came well was route concepts. I see offensive pass plays a little differently. I’m seeing a full picture, and it kind of makes it a little bit easier to understand and grasp what we’re trying to do.”
Russell said he’s impressed with Lynch’s hands and that Lynch is “learning to be real aggressive in the run game.”
Lynch may get a chance to develop even more as a tight end with a potential sixth season in 2021. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA has granted all players an extra year of eligibility. After thinking this would be his final year in college football, Lynch said he’s considered coming back next year.
“Only having one year of tight end under my belt, and this being the second, another year could benefit me very well, and it’s definitely a possibility,” said Lynch, who is also in line to be the holder on place kicks. “We just have to see where this year goes, and playing time and my success there, but it’s definitely a possibility.”
For now, he’s focused on making this a great year for himself and the Buffs, and it’s fitting that the opening game, Nov. 7, will come against his former team, UCLA.
“That was something I was hoping for, to get to play them within our six-game season,” Lynch said. “Getting them right off the bat is something I’m fired up about, but right now we’re just focused on what we can do. We haven’t really looked that far. Just trying to get us up to speed and focus on what we’re doing as a Colorado football team.”