"I love Artie to death. I remember him from his recruiting days with his big basketball jerseys on, his jean shorts and his Jordans. I was just like who is this dude?"
It's a reasonable question – who is Arthur Lynch?
With over a hundred players on Georgia's official football roster and a handful of tight ends on the depth chart, it wouldn't be hard for Arthur Lynch to get lost in the shuffle. Yet the redshirt sophomore is anything but hard to miss. He sits at 6'5, 270 pounds, and has the build of both a blocking and receiving tight end – in other words Lynch is the total package.
Originally from Dartmouth, Massachusetts, a small town right outside of Boston, Lynch has travelled a long way to play football for the Bulldogs. And it shows in some ways. He comes to Athens with "the worst accent I have ever heard," joked White. But it's not an accent or his size that makes him stand out. It's his heart.
"It was definitely different," Lynch explains as he starts recalling his childhood. "When we were younger we didn't exactly have the most. I mean we always had clothes on our backs and food to eat but it wasn't the easiest to support four kids."
His face lights up a little at the mere mention of the other members of his family. He repeats himself.
"It was different."
He takes a moment to form his words carefully, thoughtfully. He takes a deep breath, exhales, and then explains.
"My dad was around until I was about fourteen and that's kind of when our relationship went separate ways."
Almost six years later, Lynch still hasn't had any contact with his father.
"I appreciate my dad being there for the first fourteen years of my life. That's more than what a lot of other people can say."
He takes the slightest pause and begins to elaborate.
"Even when all that happened, I think it only affected me to a certain extent. No, it wasn't a path I foresaw coming when I was growing up. I still remember going to practices and games with my dad, but most of my earliest memories are just being with my mom or my grandfather."
He takes another breath and suddenly his mood shifts. He starts to smile.
"My mom and my grandfather, they were the ones that ended up helping me with going though recruiting and figuring out where I wanted to go to school. I can't say enough about my mom. Watching her go through what she went through with my dad and seeing how strong she was really just made me a better person, and it made me realize how lucky I am to have her. If I couldn't have both, I was lucky enough to have her. She's definitely the strongest person I know."
When he turned eighteen, Arthur decided to honor his mother and grandfather by legally changing his last name from Fontaine to Lynch.
"When she took her name back, I told her I wanted to take it back, too. It was really important to me. The name Lynch signifies so much more than a name to me; it means a lot to me."
Most of Lynch's teammates, including White, are well aware of Lynch's struggles and his determination to rise above them.
"He doesn't talk about it a lot, but when he does talk about it, it's always a good conversation. His grandfather means a lot to him; he has a lot of respect for him. He was there for him growing up. He didn't have the greatest relationship with his dad. He was raised by his mom – he always calls her Ma Dukes."
Carline Lynch, or "Ma Dukes" as her son likes to call her, still resides hundreds of miles away from Georgia in Dartmouth. She understands Arthur's love for his grandfather and the bond that the two share.
"He and his grandfather are very similar and they both have a love of football. It was probably out of that closeness that he wanted to change his name. He wanted to honor him and show him how much he loved him."
She giggles a little as she recalls her youngest child growing up.
"We call him A-Train back home. Back in eighth grade he was by far the biggest guy on the basketball team and the nickname just kind of fit. Growing up he was always very energetic," she reminisces. "He was always up for anything and very active. I don't think that's changed much."
She mainly recalls how close all four of her children were growing up, despite all the circumstances. They all supported each other and made sure to remain close throughout the years.
"He adored his sisters. He's always loved them and always will. He was the youngest so I dragged him to all of their sporting events but he adored Ellie, Fran and Liz – he really did. He was always their biggest fan."
Raising four children wasn't the easiest task for a single mother, but Carline Lynch made sure to instill three things in her kids.
"I wanted them to be honest, hardworking and kind; it's as simple as that."
Her voice oozes with pride as she goes into detail about her only son.
"He's a good brother, a good son, a good grandson, and he's just good to people. Whatever relationship he's in, he's just good."
Not surprisingly, Lynch's teammates describe him in the same way. He's someone that's fun to be around and keeps you laughing. He's the type of guy who can fit into any situation and feels comfortable around different groups of people. He is a guy that's always there for his friends and takes loyalty very seriously. He's a good person to be around. Carline Lynch summed him up best: Artie Lynch is just good. He refuses to focus on talking about himself though and picks up the conversation right where he left off about his mom.
"I think she did a really good job of teaching me what was important in life. I'm definitely a mama's boy and you can quote me on that. My mom is the most important person in my life, followed by my sisters, my grandfather and the rest of my family."
Lynch slows down a little and puts everything into perspective.
"You just have to be appreciative of what you have, and I'm just grateful for my mom. Everyone has dealt with a problem in life, and I'll never say that my life has been a burden."
"Burden" is an understatement for what most people would describe as the kind of trials and tribulations a young guy like Lynch had to overcome growing up. But Lynch refuses to focus on that. It's something he doesn't talk about too much simply because there's no need to talk bout it. He chooses to concentrate on where he is today.
"Yeah, I think my life would have been different in a way if my dad was around, but I don't think it would have been different in a bad or good way. The way I grew up is the way I grew up for a reason. I think me picking up the slack after my father left and kind of growing into a man earlier helped me evolve. It helped me become a man."
"He's writing a book right now on his life story, you know," blurts out White. "Yeah, he has 70 pages written already. It's the funniest thing I've ever heard – I started laughing when he told me. But at the end of the day I was just like – he's really writing his autobiography. He's definitely got a story to tell. He's definitely a unique individual, and he's got a very unique past to talk about. Like I said, Artie Lynch is the man."
Arthur Lynch is definitely a man, in every sense of the word.