UMass football: Kay'Ron Lynch-Adams declares for NFL Draft

UMass running back Kay'Ron Lynch-Adams (15) rushes against New Mexico earlier this season in Amherst.

UMass running back Kay'Ron Lynch-Adams (15) rushes against New Mexico earlier this season in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By GARRETT COTE

Staff Writer

Published: 12-02-2023 10:16 PM

AMHERST — The best player on the UMass football team in 2023 decided Friday that he was going to forgo his senior year with the Minutemen and enter the 2024 NFL Draft.

Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams, who rushed for 1,157 yards on the ground and added 12 touchdowns on five yards per carry, announced the decision on X/Twitter. The Warren, Ohio native showcased what he was capable of when staying fully healthy, and burst onto the national scene after a 234-yard, three-touchdown performance in a UMass win on the road against Army.

“I’m dream chasing and got to take care of my family,” his post said.

Lynch-Adams rushed for 75 yards or more in eight of the Minutemen’s 12 games, and proved to be one of the better between-the-tackles ball carriers in the country (he ranked 19th in FBS in yards).

“A year ago [Lynch-Adams] was banged up and we didn’t get the best that he had to offer,” UMass head coach Don Brown said after the victory against Army. “This year we’re getting the best out of Kay’Ron. He’s playing at a high level. He’s not the biggest guy in the world but he just finds a way to gain yards and make guys miss. He’s gaining a lot of yards after contact and he’s a great kid, too.”

UMass has lost 16 players already as of Saturday morning – only one full week since its season finale against UConn. Granted, many teams are still practicing for bowl games, so it makes sense that this is one of the higher numbers in Division 1.

Along with Lynch-Adams, wide receiver Mark Pope, the Minutemen’s third leading receiver, also declared for the draft. Pope caught 33 passes for 420 yards and a touchdown this season. His 6-foot, 180-pound frame isn’t a bad build for an NFL wideout. Add on his blistering sprinter speed, Pope could earn a spot on a roster and be a versatile weapon for an offense (or special teams).

Defensive back Jordan Mahoney entered the transfer portal Thursday night, as did safety Dorian Helm. When healthy and on the field, Mahoney played the corner position very well. He made 29 total tackles to go along with three pass break-ups and a forced fumble. He will be a senior next season and a strong addition to a team’s secondary wherever he winds up.

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Offensive tackle Tyler Leinberger announced Friday that he is entering the transfer portal as well. Leinberger is the second UMass player at the tackle position to leave Amherst, so Brown has some work to do bringing in linemen considering the position was thin to begin with.