Aaron Lynch, Notre Dame's Best Defensive Player, is Transferring (Possible to the University of South Florida)

Absolutely devastating news to Notre Dame and coach Brian Kelly – freshman star defensive end Aaron Lynch, a top 30 recruit who had 5.5 sacks last season and in a couple years will be a Top 10 NFL draft pick, is leaving the program, the school announced this morning.

Early (unconfirmed) word is that Lynch wants to be closer to home, and he’ll enroll at the University of South Florida this summer.

There had been rumors last week that Lynch was contemplating a transfer, but his mother went on twitter and said he wasn’t going anywhere.

Now, he’s gone.

The Notre Dame defense was formidable last year, and was poised to be even better in 2012, led by Lynch – who at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds kind of reminds me of Jared Allen of the Vikings – and middle linebacker Manti T’eo, who decided to stay for another season.

Lynch finished the year with his best game – five tackles and 1.5 sacks in a bowl game loss to Florida State.

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