Justin Lynch said he just thought it was time to come home.
The true freshman quarterback announced Monday that he was transferring to Northern Illinois University from Temple, where he saw action in 11 games and ended the season as the second-leading rusher for the Owls.
[ Temple QB Justin Lynch transferring to NIU ]
Justin Lynch, the younger brother of former NIU standout Jordan Lynch, was recruited to Temple by head coach Rod Carey, who left NIU in 2019 after six seasons in DeKalb. He was fired by Temple late last month.
On Tuesday, Daily Chronicle sports editor and NIU beat writer Eddie Carifio talked with Justin Lynch about the decision to leave Temple, current NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi and trying to make a name for himself with the Huskies.
• Editor’s note: The following Q&A is lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
EC: What was behind your decision to transfer out of Temple in the first place? Did that come down to the coaching change or was there more there?
JL: It was a tough situation for me at Temple. I got in a few games, a few starts, a lot of learning experiences. I thought it would be best to come home to NIU.
EC: Were you looking at other schools, did anyone else offer you, or was this just, like you said, ‘Hey I want to come back home?’
JL: It was between NIU and Western Michigan.
EC: What made you decide to choose NIU?
JL: On my visit it just felt like home. It’s like a second home. I grew up watching my brother, obviously play. I loved the coaching staff when I was out there. It felt like a good place to be.
EC: What were the talks like with the NIU coaching staff coming in? Did they talk about your usage, that kind of thing? Obviously, there’s a good quarterback in place now. What were the conversations with them like?
JL: Obviously, come in and compete, but with Rocky being back it will be best if I redshirt. It will let me learn the offense and get to grow as a player. And then we see after that, go out and compete.
EC: So you’re expecting to take a redshirt next year?
JL: Most likely, yep.
EC: What do you know about Rocky, and what are you expecting to learn behind him?
JL: When I was out there I met him on the visit, he’s an older guy, so probably a leadership role, how he carries himself with the team, and all that will be a big thing. Learn as much as I can.
EC: Like you said, you got some playing time this year at Temple. Was there anything from that experience you learned at the college level that maybe you weren’t expecting?
JL: I think it was just the speed of the game coming out of high school. That was a big thing getting adjusted to. Then there’s the skill level. Everybody’s on scholarship. Just getting used to reading defenses and all that.
EC: I guess the last thing is, like you mentioned, this is where your brother played. How do you balance trying to make your own name for yourself while knowing the shadow your brother’s accomplishments still cast?
JL: Well, I’d say I’m not Jordan. I’m Justin. Obviously, there are going to be comparisons online and all that. But I’m going to make my own legacy here. That’s a big thing. I want to carry my name, not his.