Playing on the road against the No. 11 team in the country is already a tall order for Georgia Tech A-back Clinton Lynch. The Hurricanes defense presents a front-four that can matchup with almost any offensive line and the linebacking corps includes two freshmen All-Americans from a season ago.
However, Lynch’s toughest test won’t even come when he is on the field. It will happen when he is on the sidelines. Because when he is over there, he will be intently watching Miami Hurricanes’ tight end Christopher Herndon.
While there is no doubt that Lynch and the rest of the Yellow Jackets want a win, every time Herndon makes a good play, Lynch will probably be smiling a little bit on the inside.
“I have known him pretty much my entire life,” Lynch said.
The two grew up together in Gwinnett County, where they became high school teammates at Norcross. In 2013 and 14, Lynch and Herndon, who both played wide receiver in high school, led the Blue Devils to the 6A State Championship.
“We always tried to push each other to the max and get that big offer so we could get to this big stage,” Lynch said.
They got that big offer – Herndon to Miami and Lynch to Georgia Tech. Both made position changes while on campus too. Herndon became a tight end and Lynch became an A-back in the Yellow Jackets triple-option offense.
After redshirting his freshman year, Lynch has become Tech’s top dual-threat back. Last year, he led the Yellow Jackets in receiving yards with 490 and was fourth on the team in rushing with 415. Herndon cemented himself as a capable back-up tight end last season hauling in 28 catches for 334 yards. This year, Herndon has propelled himself into a starting role. He is second-leading receiver on Miami with 13 catches.
“It’s good to see the success he is having and it’s good to sit back and watch where we came from,” Lynch said. “I am proud of him and his success and I am ready to play against his team.”
Herndon’s Hurricanes have gotten the better of Lynch’s Yellow Jackets two out of the three times they have played each other in college.
Lynch said the two still talk regularly even in the thick of the season. And because the two are still good friends, there won’t be any bad blood towards the other after the final whistle Saturday. But that doesn’t mean they can’t trash talk each other until kickoff.
“I texted him right after the Florida State game like, ‘we’re coming’,” Lynch said with a smile.