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Knee surgery ends Louis Nix’s season

Nov 21, 2013, 6:36 PM EDT

Louis Nix Getty Images

After missing games against Air Force and Navy to rehabilitate an injured meniscus, Louis Nix returned to the field to play against Pitt. In the Irish’s 28-21 loss, Nix battled through double teams and a sore knee to notch five tackles, a game that’ll likely be his last at Notre Dame.

After practice Thursday evening, Brian Kelly announced that Nix underwent surgery to repair the same torn meniscus, ending Nix’s season and potentially his collegiate career. Nix hasn’t formally decided what to do next season, but did take 19 credit hours this semester (a full load is considered 15 hours), so he could officially graduate at the semester break.

If this is the end for Nix, he’ll be remembered as one of the most dominant defensive players of the post-Holtz era, likely going in the first round of the NFL Draft, rarefied air for a front seven player at Notre Dame.

A unique fit at Notre Dame from Jacksonville’s Raines High School, Nix committed to the Irish between head coaches, stuck with it in South Bend through home sickness and ups and downs, and became one of the team’s most beloved players, thanks to his ever-present smile and sparkling personality, showcased on his Twitter account.

Nix will still fulfill his goal of celebrating Senior Day with his mother. According to Kelly, Nix and his mom will walk to midfield together on Saturday.

  1. tony34343434 - Nov 21, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    One of those years, we are not getting the breaks. Hoping you come back for one more run but if not thanks for some great years with the Irish. We enjoyed watching your passion for the game and the University, Go Irish!

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Don’t forget his passion for life in general. Talk about an RKG. Louis always wanted that degree but also feels an obligation to get the paycheck in order to help out his family. His mother should be proud for raising such a decent kid. He had his low moments while at ND but you never saw the kid without that engaging smile on his face. Here’s hoping he heals quickly, goes high first round, gets the big paycheck and all good things in life come his way. He will be a great spokesman for ND and he deserves everything that comes his way.

      • papadec - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:52 PM

        joisey – I would modify that slightly to everything good that comes his way. He doesn’t need any other leg/health issues.

  2. yogihilt - Nov 21, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    He will certainly be missed… and good luck next year if you decide to pursue the NFL. Two tough run teams coming to us shortly, so the timing is certainly not good (anytime not good).

  3. jem5b - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:35 PM

    Terrific four years Mr. Nix. What and engaging young man. You made OLU proud.

  4. irishaggie - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    I about fell off my chair when I saw the headline. Hope big Louis heals up and tears it up on Sundays! Looking forward to it!

  5. aceinthehole12 - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    I’d love to see Big Lou coming back for a fifth year, imagine this team a year from now with him still on it, but the NFL is calling. Thankful to have watched this young man grow at ND both on and off the field. One of the funniest athletes around..wishin for nothing but the best for number 1.

  6. mdp44 - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Wish he would stay but the writing is on the wall

  7. rationalnd - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    First thought is selfish. I mean are you focking serious? This is a huge blow to the D-line. He needs to come back next year now because his draft stock is going to drop. How will my life be the same if ND drops these next two games? Oh that’s right. Exactly the same.

    Carrying on then….I wish Big Lou well. I love seeing ND players tear it up in the NFL.

  8. 25kgold - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Looks like it’s going to snow Saturday!! Which plays right into Rees’ game plan. The defense won’t be able to see the ball thrown directly at them so easily! -_-

  9. NotreDan - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Good luck big Lou. Just our luck, at least one thing is consisted.

    • NotreDan - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:12 PM

      God dang autocorrect

  10. dbldmr - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    Bummer, big man. I’m an alum and (almost) 50 year fan. You’re in my top ten over that period, and we’re covering some major ground there.

  11. texasirishfan - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    One of my all time favorite Notre Dame personalities. And a darn good football player to boot. The best of luck to Irish Chocolate! I hope you have a speedy and successful recovery.

  12. bearcatirishfan - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Too bad, hope it heals fully for the nfl good lick big lou

  13. mediocrebob - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Sums up this season. Good luck Lou. Thanks for everything.

  14. txirish2 - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    Louis, you’ve been everything ND fans hoped for and more. I will always remember the funny jokes about how awesome you would be prior to your arrival, but more than that I will remember your friendly and genuine demeanor that made you a fan favorite. Thank you for everything and best of luck in the NFL!!! Looking forward to seeing you and your mom on Senior Day!

  15. viktory2013 - Nov 22, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    Read his comments on another ND site, and I actually believe Nix is leaning towards returning for another year. He didn’t sound all that interested in racing to the NFL, and it would make a great deal of financial sense to hit the draft after a strong, healthy season rather than limp into it straight from surgery.

  16. danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    Sucks for Big Lou, I hope this doesn’t hurt his draft status and I hope and pray he can line up next to Shea and Peppers for the Bears.

    Of course I wouldn’t mind it if he came back……

    Great years at ND! Great kid and player!

    GO IRISH!

  17. danirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:43 AM

    Man, if you haven’t already, read the story on HLS about a Thank you to TJ Jones with older players telling stories about Andre, TJ’s father.

    That is just dust in my eye, I’m not crying…..

  18. domerboyirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    Louis Nix: Big man, big, talent, big heart. Not being able to play? Big loss. If he’s gone for good, thanks for everything ya big lug! We’ll miss you!

  19. domerboyirish - Nov 22, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I find it interesting that no one is mentioning the Jaylon Smith comment above? In a year where many of us believe that this defense lacks leadership, a true freshman takes the reigns by showing some class and respect of his mentor. This will only blossom into a leadership role for next year and beyond. It shows a maturity and respect that seems sorely lacking from everyone except Nix. I think it is great to see.

    • ndadvocate - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:18 PM

      With Big Lou probably leaving, Jaylon is a guy I will especially be rooting for.

  20. blackirish23 - Nov 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Message to the Fightin’ Irish of Notre Dame:

    Blow out BYU early leaving absolutely no questions. Then in the 4th quater, have Big Louis Nix take ONE snap at QB to end his playing career at Notre Dame in his own unique way, going out in style!!

    Go Irish!!

  21. irish4006 - Nov 22, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Thank you for everything, big man! I don’t see him coming back (unless he falls too far in the draft due to surgery). Good luck!!

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