Notre Dame tackle Louis Nix has reportedly signed with a NFL agent today thus forgoing a potential 5th year of eligibility and will be headed to the NFL as many have expected all season long.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Nix signed with agents Todd France and Brian Ayrault on Friday making him eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. Since many media tend to report that players in Nix’s situation – a 4th year senior with a year of eligibility – is “leaving early” it should be noted that Nix will have completed his undergraduate degree by the end of the fall semester and is not leaving early. Rather, Nix has reportedly decided – wisely many would suggest – to head to the NFL as a likely top 10 pick with a degree from the University of Notre Dame in hand.
Nix, a fan favorite among the Fighting Irish faithful since committing to Notre Dame while the Irish didn’t have a coach following the firing of Charlie Weis, hinted to his followers on Instagram on Thursday night that he was leaving Notre Dame with an ominous picture.
Nix made it official less than 24 hours later and it should come as no surprise to anyone that he is headed to the NFL following his senior season. Nix has a degree in hand and is a projected top 10 pick on almost every mock draft there is as the top nose tackle in the draft. The only reason for Nix to come back would have been for a chance at another title run, but given the money involved with being a top 10 pick, the risk of injury by bypassing the NFL a second time wouldn’t make sense for any potential top 10 pick in his situation.
Nix has missed four games this season with a knee injury that will cost him Notre Dame’s bowl game as well. Originally injured against USC, Nix sat out the Air Force and Navy games before giving it everything he had against Pitt only to be shut down for the season following Notre Dame’s disappointing loss to the Panthers.
A year ago Nix made the decision to come to Notre Dame for a senior season when many projected him as a first round pick albeit outside of the top 10. Brian Kelly pulled off one of his better recruiting jobs, however, and Nix returned for a senior season along with Zack Martin who also had a chance to leave for the NFL but came back for one more season.
Nix’s departure leaves a huge hole – literally – in the middle of the Notre Dame defensive front – a hole that no one man will be able to completely fill because 350 lbs mammoth linemen are few and far between. Luckily for Notre Dame, Jarron Jones began to emerge at the end of the 2013 season and has shown promise as a potential replacement. Tony Springmann will also return for the Irish in 2014 after missing the entire 2013 season due to injury.
Louis Nix has been a joy to watch grow on and off the field for Notre Dame over the last four years and it’ll be a long, long time before Notre Dame has another player like Louis Nix. Irish fans everywhere were holding out the slim hope that Nix may return for a 5th year, but he is making the right decision here. Hopefully for Big Lou and Notre Dame, Irish Chocolate has a bright career ahead of him in the NFL – Notre Dame could certainly use some current defensive stars in the NFL to point to as Brian Kelly and his staff attempt to reel in the next line of Irish stars on the recruiting trail.