The spelling on the shirt didn’t matter, solely that it seemed cool. So Denis Lynch purchased it.
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The red-headed redshirt freshman’s pondering behind a soon-to-be viral outfit is so simple as the slogan printed on the black T-shirt he wore right into a recreation towards Fresno State. The straight-forward phrase simply captures the USC kicker’s distinctive affect on campus.
“I’m Dennis doing Dennis things.”
Together with his meme-able style statements and constant kicking, Lynch has grown into an sudden favourite on a championship-contending group. The roster has sufficient multi-starred recruits to fill the sky throughout a Pac-12 after darkish recreation, but followers are celebrating an unassuming 5-foot-8 kicker with freckles and a curly mop of crimson hair each week in hopes of getting Lynch a scholarship.
As his residence recreation outfits change into appointment posting for USC’s social media team, Lynch accepts his new cult hero standing with an “aw shucks” attraction that belies what lengthy snapper Jac Casasante known as sneaky competitiveness.
“He’s one of the more competitive people on this football field,” the fifth-year specialist stated. “He’s very passionate and outspoken about the things he wants to be better at.”
Lynch is ideal on his conference-leading 37 extra-point makes an attempt and eight-of-10 on area targets as No. 12 USC (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12 Convention) hopes to remain within the convention championship chase after dropping a heartbreaker to Utah. Lynch’s rise to turning into the main scorer on a title-contending group comes lower than 4 years after starting his kicking profession.
A multi-sport athlete at Newbury Park, Lynch didn’t transition to soccer till his junior 12 months. He acknowledged by no means even watching the game — primarily targeted on soccer — however realized he had a future on the gridiron throughout his senior 12 months. The left-footed kicker hit 33 of 35 additional factors throughout two years of highschool soccer, together with an ideal 10 of 10 as a senior. He accepted a suggestion to stroll on at USC in 2021 regardless of a crowded place group that included then-returning starter Parker Lewis and veteran backup Alex Stadthaus.
When the Trojans signed Lynch, punter Will Rose obtained a textual content within the specialist group chat in regards to the new addition. He noticed an image of a pale, 5-foot-6 child with a headful of curly crimson hair.
“‘Who is this guy,’” Rose puzzled skeptically.
“Then he came in and hit the ball really well and I was like, ‘This is somebody who can start on this football team,’” Rose stated. “Less than a year later, he’s starting on the football team.”
Lynch gained the beginning spot this season after Lewis transferred to Ohio State and he beat Stadthaus, who went six for six on area targets and 11 for 11 on additional factors final 12 months.
Getting into the competitors throughout preseason camp, director of participant relations Gavin Morris reminded Lynch he had only one job. The kicker requested, simply to verify, what that was precisely.
“‘Kick the ball through the uprights,’” Lynch recalled Morris telling him. “So guess that was kind of my approach. Just kick the ball through the uprights and whatever happens, happens.”
Midway by the season, Lynch nonetheless isn’t positive what he did to overhaul Stadthaus, who nonetheless handles kickoffs.
Ask Rose what separates Lynch, the redshirt junior holder stated it’s his consistency and work ethic. Any misses in observe are met with annoyed calls from Lynch for a right away do-over. The kicker traces up for the subsequent one even earlier than the ball is noticed.
“This kid is not only just here because he’s good, but he actually wants to be the best at kicking,” Casasante stated.
The tight-knit trio retains a devoted group chat outdoors of the bigger specialist dialog. Rose and Casasante, who made their school debuts this 12 months together with Lynch in USC’s season opener towards Rice, are additionally the kicker’s major style mentors, providing encouragement and equipment. The black cowboy hat atop Lynch’s crimson curls earlier than the sport towards Washington State was Casasante’s suggestion, and the lengthy snapper lent him the sun shades to finish a cowboy-chic outfit that included a black long-sleeved turtleneck sweater and denim overalls.
Lynch acknowledges he’s removed from a style icon. On typical days, he will be discovered roaming campus in his team-issues sweatpants, T-shirts and slides, however he stepped up his game-day apparel after key motivation.
“I don’t have pictures of myself in fashion and my mom was like, ‘You should get better pictures of yourself,’” Lynch stated. “My mom wanted to me to look good, so I said OK.”
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Lynch is the star of loads of photos capturing his runway stroll down the steps into the Coliseum. After the success of his “Dennis doing Dennis things” shirt, the kicker is ready for a “Dennis the Menace” shirt to reach within the mail and plans to put on it regardless of the film’s titular character utilizing a special spelling than Lynch’s identify.
When Lynch was instructed gamers had been to “dress fancy” for USC’s opener towards Rice, he reached for his long-sleeved turtleneck, black pants and a black belt with a gold Batman buckle. He completed the look with a skinny chain.
“Heat stroke is temporary,” one Twitter account wrote after Los Angeles weathered a historic warmth wave that pushed temperatures near 100 levels that weekend. “Drip is forever.”
The pregame tunnel stroll has change into extra distinguished in skilled sports activities with NBA, WNBA and NFL stars incomes as a lot social media consideration from their style statements as their recreation highlights. With the pattern trickling to the faculty ranks, it’s one other alternative for identify, picture and likeness offers, USC receiver Mario Williams stated.
“Everybody got their own style,” the receiver stated. “It’s a way to show your style and show how you dress.”
Rose, who sticks to a theme of classic USC attire with Casasante, rocked a USC club hockey jersey. Williams focuses on distinctive items that assist him stand out. Lynch outlets solely on Amazon.
Lynch purchased his overalls on-line for $37 after seeing followers on Faculty Sport Day sporting outsized coveralls with vibrant stripes. He accomplished the look with black Air Drive Ones, that are well-known in sneaker-obsessed circles because the shoe of these as much as no good.
Whereas no teammates reacted within the second — Lynch reasoned they had been all locked into recreation preparations — he didn’t get a lot pushback on it later both, regardless that it raised eyebrows on social media.
“I think everyone just accepted,” Lynch stated, “that it’s Denis.”