LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Arthur Lynch rocked his fitted Boston Red Sox cap on Thursday night while sharing a few laughs with his Under Armour All-America Game teammates. While the Sox have become increasingly popular across America, Lynch wasn't exactly jumping on the bandwagon -- he was representing his region.
A 6-foot-5, 240-pound tight end from Dartmouth (Mass.), Lynch has an accent distinctively Boston and the football skills to make it to the second annual Under Armour All-America Game on Sunday (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET) in Orlando.
Normally, kids from the Bay State don't earn spots in All-American football games, but Lynch thinks that's an unfair assessment of the talent in Massachusetts. Heck, Lynch is rated the nation's No. 7 tight end in the ESPNU 150 and has committed to SEC power Georgia.
"I think overall the talent up North is definitely underrated," says Lynch. "I think it's not appreciated enough. We don't send as many of the kids to Division I like Florida or Georgia, but there's definitely talent there. There are definitely kids from Mass who can play with kids all across the country."
Lynch mentions fellow Class of 2009 recruits like Catholic Memorial (West Roxbury, Mass.) lineman Brennan Williams and Cheshire Academy (Cheshire, Conn.) wide receiver Joshua Adams, who hails from Cambridge, Mass., as two other Division I-bound players from his area. And from the Class of 2008, Lynch's old teammate at Dartmouth, Jordan Todman, backed up standout running back Donald Brown at UConn this year.
It was Todman who helped Lynch initially get noticed when college coaches who came in to watch him caught a glimpse of another talented youngster at Dartmouth.
"I definitely learned a lot from him," says Lynch. "I know we play completely different positions, but just the way he handles himself, the maturity level he has. He was like a mentor of mine in a way. I always looked up to him. We grew up together. I always knew he was going to do big things in athletics."
Lynch also helped himself out with a strong performance at Maryland's football camp heading into his junior season. From there, the offers started to pour in and Lynch decided to keep it local by committing to Boston College the spring of his junior year.
While the Eagles were his dream school growing up, Lynch realized he rushed into his decision and didn't fully analyze the myriad offers sitting in front of him.
"I was like, well I had all these other choices, why don't I just go out there and look around and see what's what," says Lynch. "And so, I backed off my pledge, which I felt was wrong on my part, but I just had to do it because it's my life, it's my decision. Twenty years from now, it's what I make of it. And if I didn't choose what was right for me, then that was my fault. I can't blame anyone else."
After carefully considering his options, Lynch pledged to Georgia last August. Fully comfortable with his college decision, Lynch went on to receive Boston Globe and Boston Herald All-Scholastic honors in the fall after catching 16 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns while registering 55 tackles at defensive end.
Now here he is at the Under Armour All-America Game playing with kids from Florida, California and Texas. He looks at Sunday night as his opportunity to show the nation Massachusetts can play some high school football too.
"I just want to hold my own and try to make a couple of plays here and there, whether it's blocking and catching, and just try to stick out a little bit," says Lynch. "And just let people know that I'm not from Georgia, I'm not from Florida or California or Texas or Ohio. I'm from Massachusetts because I think the state needs a little more notoriety than just its pro teams."
Lynch has made a believer out of his Under Armour teammates and has fit in quite well with them off the field as well.
"He's big, so I definitely think he could hang in Cali," says Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) quarterback Richard Brehaut, who has committed to UCLA. "He's a cool guy to hang out with it. I hang out with him outside the practices and stuff. He's a real chill, cool kid. He's a big target. I like throwing to him. He's nice."
"For everyone to even be in this game, you've got be good somewhere," adds Eisenhower (Houston, Texas) safety and LSU recruit Craig Loston.
Even if it is Massachusetts.
Jon Mahoney covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com.