#12 Jim Lynch: Notre Dame Football’s Top 25 Players

Jim Lynch - Notre Dame LB
Photo provided by Jim Lynch

#12 Jim Lynch, Linebacker, 1964-1966

Jim Lynch was recruited from Lima Central Catholic as part of the ever loyal Hugh Devore’s parting gift to Notre Dame: the 1963 freshman class, which was Notre Dame’s best since Leahy’s class of 1946. It included Alan Page, Larry Conjar, Don Gmitter, George Goeddeke, Kevin Hardy, Tom Regner, John Horney, Paul Seiler and many more who formed the nucleus of Ara’s first team and the 1966 National Champoinship Team.

Ara took advantage of the rule change from limited substitution to unlimited substitution immediately in the spring of 1964 and Defensive Coordinator had his Middle Linebacker for the next three seasons.   Technically, Notre Dame was still playing a 4-4-3 but Jim Lynch was the alpha dog.

Lynch totaled 255 tackles, broke up six passes, made four interceptions and recovered one fumble. Lynch was the sole captain of the great 1966 team and one of Notre Dame’s iconic images is Lynch striding to midfield to meet Michigan State’s multiple Captains before the 10-10 classic on November 19, 1966.

In 1966, in addition to earning the National Championship ring, Lynch won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best college football player (Steve Spurrier won the Heisman) and was a unanimous first team selection.

His coach, Ara Parseghian, has said, “I am often asked who was the best player to coach, and Jim Lynch always comes to mind. He was All-America in every sense – talented, hard-nosed, and honest.”

Lynch is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

#12)  Jim Lynch, LB, 1964-1966
#13) Alan Page, Defensive End, 1964-1966
#14) Frank Carideo, QB, 1928-1930
#15) Creighton Miller, Halfback 1941-1943
#16) Jaylon Smith, LB 2013-2015
#17) Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, ALL PURPOSE, 1988-1990
#18) Tom Clements, Quarterback, 1972-1974
#19) Chris Zorich, Nose Tackle, 1988-1990
#20) Aaron Taylor, Guard/Tackle, 1990-1993
#21) Nick Buoniconti, Linebacker/Guard, 1958-1961
#22) Ken MacAfee, Tight End, 1974-1977
#23) Bill “Moose” Fischer, Left Guard, 1945-1948
#24) Todd Lyght, Cornerback, 1987-1990
#25) Louis “Red” Salmon, Fullback, 1900-1903

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  1. Bruce, in this case,I know that I am preaching to the choir.

    While it took a minute to assemble this compilation, as you, Bruce, well know, the hard work was done by the players you listed.

    Thanks for sharing and the comment. Those guys were a sight to behold!

  2. I was so lucky to have seen many lynch page conjar schoen blier gladieux theisman obrien Seymour Hanratty McCoy duranko hardy Olsen kunz pergine

    It was a great gift

    Maybe we can be truly great again someday

    Thanks for all the hard work duranko

    1. My father said it was the best ND team he’d ever seen, and he saw most of Leahy’s (probably not ’46 though, he was in Japan).

      BGC ’77 ’82

      1. And you know, as a Hoosier, I take particular pride in Kuchenberg and Griese’s accomplishments in the Pros, even though I don’t watch much pro ball. Bruce Johnson – glad you are back…was worried about your health…I never equated you with “David”, BTW.

        BGC ’77 ’82

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