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It’s official: Martin and Nix will return for 2013

Dec 17, 2012, 1:01 PM EDT

Chris Watt,  Zack Martin

Today is Notre Dame’s media day for the BCS Championship, so expect news to flow from the various interviews as Brian Kelly, his assistant coaches, and select players will be available for questions and answers. But Kelly supplied some of the biggest news today when he announced that left tackle Zack Martin and nose guard Louis Nix III will return for the 2013 season.

After keeping Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert for their senior seasons, and Michael Floyd the year prior, Kelly extends his run to three seasons in a row landing “six star recruits,” All-American caliber players that’ll be key building blocks for the 2013 team, a squad that’ll likely start the season ranked in the top five.

For Martin, who garnered some All-American kudos for another fine season at left tackle, the decision wasn’t all that surprising. Kelly announced that Martin didn’t submit for the NFL’s evaluation, but Martin did receive unofficial feedback that he’d likely be selected around the third round. Yet the draw of playing another season with his younger brother Nick, who will be one of the leading candidates to fill Mike Golic’s spot at right guard, and the chance to serve another season as captain of his teammates was strong enough to make the NFL wait another year.

For Nix, the idea that the NFL was a potential reality came with his breakout junior season. After sitting out his freshman year as he worked his way into shape, Nix spent much of the 2011 season platooning with senior Sean Cwynar. After struggling emotionally and physically throughout spring drills, Nix entered fall camp running head-to-head with Kona Schwenke for the starting spot. Yet Nix’s junior season was a transcendent one. As the key cog up front, Nix played dominant football at the point of attack, anchoring one of the nation’s best run defenses while racking up 43 tackles, 5.5 tackles-for-loss, and two sacks on the season. Nix was awarded with a third-team All-American mention, and submitted his paperwork for an NFL draft evaluation, though graduating from Notre Dame took precedence.

The last remaining question mark will be the status of Cierre Wood, who is likely going to make a decision after the BCS Championship game. Wood will weigh his NFL Draft grade, but will graduate this year and has a young daughter to consider. Wood’s return would solidify a running back position that’ll rely on Amir Carlisle and George Atkinson, with Cam McDaniel and unproven runners like Will Mahone and Greg Bryant being wildcards.

  1. sinister23 - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    I have never heard of either of those guys…not that much talent after all…

    • yogihilt - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      Why don’t you give it up.. 12-0

    • notredameirish1980 - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

      That would explain why the news is under the ESPN CFB headlines. You are getting more feeble with each attempt, which are getting farther and farther apart. Soon you will be an Irish fan. All the signs are there.

    • nudeman - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:41 PM

      Good one. I guess I’m the only one not rubbed the wrong way by your missives. They are so obviously for provocative purposes only they make me laugh.

      Serious question: What do you think about Bama/ND game?

      I actually think that Bama and the SEC are overrated and people are all too anxious to write off ND. Absolutely no one has pushed ND around this year, and while Bama might be their toughest test, I see ND winning.

      It is even POSSIBLE that it could be an ND/Oklahoma type game where ND wears them down and pulls away for a 2 td win.

      Irish key is Golson. If he comes out with all sorts of rust from the month off and waves the ball around with one hand when running … look out. But if he plays clean and makes a few plays with his arm and legs … ND wins.

      • papadec - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:32 AM

        nude – thanks. I’m more inclined to just tell him to F*** OFF.

    • 1historian - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      I’ve never heard of you, so the same must be true

  2. ajw21 - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    you havent heard of them because one is a left tackle who gave up one sack this yr and one is a top 10 DT. Both of them get mentioned every game but you prolly only watched the Mich game and was pulling ur hair out as denard had 5 turnovers so you get a pass.

  3. yogihilt - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Glad to see the trend continuing staying at ND to graduate, following in some great footsteps the past few years. Shows the value of a ND diploma after playing days, whereas they leave early down south and get their grad paper from U of Phoenix!

    • tedlinko - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      C’mon Yogi, That’s an insult…

      to the U. of Phoenix that is.

      • yogihilt - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:43 PM

        Sorry, ur right. lol

    • papadec - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:34 AM

      yogi – you really think they ever get any grad paper?

  4. 04domergrad - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Fantastic news. It’s great to have proven guys on the line for next year. We’re lucky that Martin doesn’t get more pub because I think he’s a fantastic player.

    This is yet another testament to how Kelly has reshaped the culture of ND football – it’s no longer a jumping off point for the NFL but a destination on its own to accomplish great things.

    Just pinched myself again… see you in Miami!

  5. canadianndfan - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Love the news! Welcome back boys! Having Nix back will really help ease the transition at LB from Te’o to whoever takes his spot (early on my $$ is on Grace). An ILB’s best friend is a huge DT that can eat up the blockers in front of him….

  6. gtizzo - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    Good to see Martin coming back! Left tackle is so important and he can anchor the offensive line next season.

  7. dutch31 - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    I was worried about Nix. Couple of the draft evaluations that I googled had him rated as a 1rst round pick. Glad to see he will stay and graduate!!

    Can someone help me ( been working al lot to pay for my tix). Was there already an announcement that Calbeses, Fox, and Watt will be back for a 5th year??


    • bernhtp - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:48 PM

      The fifth year offers come after national signing day, which is when we will have firm numbers on the number of slots open. I think that Watt is a certain return, and at least one of Fox and Calabrese will be back (probably both).

  8. bjc378 - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I’d Love to see Wood have a stand out performance against Alabama and get sent out on a high note. Get a win and improve your draft stock in front of everyone, and all in one game! I’m really interested to see what we’ve got in #3 Carlisle. I’m much more calm about having a bunch of no-names/unprovens, seeing as how the secondary has been going (*knocks on wood).

    Go Irish

  9. harvupdyke - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    You think I care?

    Roll dam tide.

    • yogihilt - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      I think you and Sinister should go into the woods together and start chanting, with lit candles! OF COURSE YOU CARE, that’s why you post… and you still can’t spell ‘damn’.. even when someone gave you a head-start with the d-a-m-n last week. And we capitilaize IRISH

    • nudeman - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      You on the other hand (as opposed to sinister) lack a certain “clever gene”.
      Doesn’t someone need a large order of fries? Better jump on that.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:40 AM

        Hey nude……LOFL. These jerks want to come on here and have a battle of wits and we quickly realize they are unarmed.

  10. cpfirish - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    To Nudeman.

    You are totally right (golson is the key). If he plays mistake free then I see ND winning. Golson has had only one TO away from south bend, and that was in Dublin. If he plays like he did against WF except the int he threw, I don’t think any team can stop us.!
    Go Irish!!
    Smash Bama!

    • bernhtp - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      The WF int was a stretch in an attempt to get Toma a touchdown on his senior day when the game was already well in hand. I don’t expect him to do anything like that against Alabama unless he needs to take chances because we are behind.

  11. papadec - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Great news! On a separate, non-football item. I’m not ashamed to ask all you loyal sons & daughters to pray for the family of Bostonjan – his eldest son fell down a flight of stairs Saturday night & is in the ICU with a fractured skull & brain contusions. Thank you.

    • yogihilt - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:49 AM

      God Bless.

    • nudeman - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Is it too intrusive to ask for son’s name and where he’s being treated? Get well wishes from Keith’s bloggers can’t hurt.
      But i understand if that’s not comfortable for them

  12. bearcatirishfan - Dec 18, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    Hope that little ND fan gets better soon.

    • nudeman - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:30 PM

      Can the person who gave this comment from bearcat a “thumbs down”:
      1. Identify himself
      2. Explain WHY
      3. Then … go away

      Not often but occasionally this blog exhibits incredibly stupid behavior, more often than not it is one particular com enter
      This is one of those times.


  13. bernhtp - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Here’s some (non)news on something who isn’t returning to Notre Dame next season:

    • papadec - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:06 PM

      regarding Lynch – that’s too bad. I think it was the nudeman and several others that predicted this would happen – Lynch regretting his decision & and wanting to return.

      • bernhtp - Dec 19, 2012 at 7:35 AM

        It was obvious that he would regret it even without Notre Dame’s epic season and USF’s meltdown. It was an immature and awfully impulsive decision made by someone with a volatile temperament. These are never good and always regretted.

        He’s now up at night with a crying baby, poor, at a crappy school, not playing football, and not knowing much about his coaches and team for next year other than at best it will be rebuilding and likely suck really bad. He turns on the TV and sees his friends celebrating game after game and now going to the ‘ship in Miami.

        Question: will anyone on the team get him a ticket from their allotment and will he go?

      • nudeman - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        If u read any of the other ND sites you start to get a feel for just how disliked he was by players, coaches and students.

        For him to even approach ND about returning shows how incredibly devoid he is of even a shred of self awareness.

  14. nudeman - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I am horribly sorry to read that.
    I have already said a prayer and hope the young man pulls through.

    Maybe it’s because of the CT shootings, but my first reaction was “I hope he isn’t a toddler or a young boy”
    But age doesn’t matter. Hope he has a complete recovery

  15. papadec - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    regarding bostonjan’s son – thanks for the well wishes & prayers – Phil is 21, my nephew & Godson. A Senior @ Syracuse. I haven’t heard anything since late Sunday night. They will transport him to Boston when they feel it is safe to do so. I apologize to the person who gave my request a thumbs down – I didn’t intend to offend anyone by requesting prayers. I’m just a very concerned uncle, 3,000 miles & 3 time zones away. nude – thanks, I forwarded a bunch of responses from my church friends out here. I’m sure bostonjan will see these comments when he gets a chance, and appreciate them. thank you

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:28 AM

      Our thoughts and prayers go out to bostonjan and Phil for a speedy recovery.

    • nudeman - Dec 19, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      You owe no apologies. The poster who gave you a thumbs down has been a toxic element here for years. When he isn’t bitching about reasonable comments he’s trolling through here and making himself feel 9 feet tall by giving thumbs down on this topic.

      Perhaps now he’ll just go away.

      More importantly the rest of us pray for Phil

      • papadec - Dec 20, 2012 at 1:38 AM

        nude – thanks. I heard tonight that there is no paralysis. The skull fracture wasn’t displaced. Still a huge concern about bleeding on the brain, so Phil is kept highly sedated, most of the time, so that he doesn’t thrash around and disconnect any of the monitoring tubes. 4-5 months of rehab projected, at this time. So, some good news, some not so good. God protect all our family members when they are away from home, at home too – for that matter.

  16. bostonjan - Dec 23, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    My family and I thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. It’s been one draining week and this is the first time that I’ve been able to get to this site.

    Bottomline, I truly believe that God has been guiding the excellent care he’s received this week and his steady progress.

    Almost exactly one week ago as I write this, he missed a step while going down stairs leading to a basement. He smashed his head and sustained a moderately-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), including two fracture lines on his skull, a sub-dermal hematoma, and contusions on his forehead as his brain essentilly whip-lashed into the front of his skull.

    Initailly he was on a ventillator as they feared that he would not be able to neurologically maintain his airway open so that he could breathe on his own. The first approximately 96 hours were critical to prevent his brain from swelling out of control as it tried to adjust and self heal to the trauma. The Neuro ICU staff @ RI hospital thought it was very likely that he would require a surgery to remove a section of his skull to allow space for out of control swelling.

    By the grace of God (and blessings of drugs & technology) the staff was able to closely balance sedation and consciousness to allow the brain to “evolve” during this week. He’s most likely out of the woods regarding the need for the surgery; but the residual effects are still unclear.

    Net, he’ll work his way out of Nuero ICU and then less critical neuro care; and then head for months of rehab (most impatient we’re told).

    A long journey ahead; but thank you God – he’s still with us and getting better each day. For us, THAT is the miracle of Christmas.

    And thank you all for your prayers. I do believe the prayers of many have been instrumental in guiding the judgment of his doctors, staff, and success of technology in helping him on his path to recovery. I pray that you and your loved ones never experience anything like this. My our coming year be filled with peace and blessings.

    Jan Dec

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