Notre Dame Football: What You Need to Know About Irish DT Louis Nix
When the Notre Dame brass fired former head coach Charlie Weis back on Nov. 30, 2009, many thought that the Irish would suffer major recruiting woes.
However, the Irish scored a major recruiting victory 24 hours after Weis was let go. Louis Nix, a 6'3", 326-pound behemoth defensive tackle, chose Notre Dame over home-state schools Miami (FL), Florida State and Florida.
Nix was rated as a 4-star prospect by Rivals.com, making the Jacksonville, Fla., native the most highly touted defensive tackle to choose Notre Dame since Trevor Laws in 2003.
Things haven't always been easy for Nix, though.
When he arrived on campus, Nix checked in at 320 pounds, but kept gaining weight in a rapid fashion until he reached the 345-pound plateau. The extra baggage took a toll on Nix's endurance, which was the root cause of the coaching staff's decision to redshirt him as a freshman in 2010.
Head coach Brian Kelly made it clear to Nix that if he truly wanted to become an every down player for the Irish, he needed to drop back into the 320-pound range and improve his cardio.
Nix took that lesson to heart, and since become a stalwart on the defensive line.
As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Nix showcased his new-found endurance and work ethic, all the while becoming a force at defensive tackle that Notre Dame has not seen since Trevor Laws was tearing things up in South Bend.
What should Irish fans salivating is that Nix has only just begun.
The 2011 season gave Nix his first taste of big-time college football, and he didn't disappoint. Sure, there were the inevitable missed reads and poor decisions, but those types of mistakes will be eradicated once Nix gains more experience in defensive coordinator Bob Diaco's 3-4 scheme.
It's not all just a matter of X's and O's for Nix, either.
With Aaron Lynch having transferred to South Florida, there appears to be a lack of leadership along the defensive line. The opportunity is there for Nix to be the anchor and leader of the Irish front line for the next three seasons.
If his determination to answer Kelly's challenge is any indication, Nix may just be the next defensive leader that the Irish are seeking.
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