Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Notre Dame NT Louis Nix III
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While he hasn’t been brought in for a pre draft visit, Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III is a player that the Steelers could have interest in and they were present for his Pro Day back in March. Here is his profile. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
LOUIS NIX III
Nose Guard/Defensive Tackle
University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish
William M. Raines High School
An imposing figure in the middle of the Irish defensive front wall, Nix became the “face” of this proud program. Many scouts and opposing offensive coordinators might sound like a chorus, as all agree that he was the spark that ignited the team on the defensive side of the ball, but was sorely missed when he sat out the final five games of the 2013 season after undergoing left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
When Nix was on the field for the first eight games of the 2013 schedule, the Irish allowed an average of 107.88 yards per game on the ground and allowed just four touchdowns, while only one opponent gained 200 yards in a contest. In the five games without him, the team gave up nine rushing touchdowns and an average of 248.2 yards per game to ball carriers, as they yielded over 200 yards in four of those contests, including 331 vs. Navy.
Most talent evaluators feel that Nix is the one of the most dominating two-gap, zero-technique performers in the game of college football. Often compared to former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp for his incredible explosive burst off the snap and combative nature, others liken him to the New England Patriots’ Vince Wilfork and former Pittsburgh Steelers great, Casey Hampton, for the way he easily occupies multiple blockers, feeling his quickness would be ideal to play three-technique in a 4-3 defensive alignment.
Those evaluators cite his aggressive, “take no prisoners” approach to the game of football that reminds them of former Minnesota Vikings fireplug, Pat Williams. Even opposing coaches recognize that Nix is the “heart and soul” of the Irish defense. They are all amazed at the quickness displayed by the red-shirt junior, as his lateral movements are very fluid, which is demonstrated regularly by his crisp and sudden change-of-direction agility working down the line.
While Mante Te’o might have garnered the media attention in 2012, it is easy to see that the nose guard’s success at stuffing the run was the major reason Notre Dame ranked eleventh in the nation in rush defense (105.69 ypg), seventh in total defense (305.46 ypg) and second in scoring defense (12.77 ppg) in 2012.
The previous season, the Irish placed 47th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks vs. the run (138.92 ypg), allowed a total of 344.69 yards per game (30th nationally) and ranked 24th in scoring defense (20.69 ppg). Nix made
The success of Nix’s game is because of his marked improvement using his hands to shed blocks. With that sudden first step, it is extremely rare for any centers or offensive guards have had any been successful in sustaining this disruptive force. When it comes to taking on lead blockers, Nix has had success in shedding those blocks to take down sixteen ball carriers in the backfield, while stopping thirteen other runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
As a sophomore, he was personally responsible for killing twenty potential scoring drives by the opposition. Even during his first season with the Irish in 2011, he came up with key plays that ended fourteen of the possessions mounted by Notre Dame opponents. On 92 plays made vs. the run since joining the Irish, no ball carrier has gained more than seven yards on any attempt.
In 34 games for Notre Dame, Nix has seen those runners average just 0.96 yards per attempt vs. the nose guard, including a miniscule average of 0.25 yards per carry in 2012. Against the rest of the Irish defense, opponents have averaged 4.10 yards per attempt (1,056 times for 4,334 yards). No opponent has scored on the ground vs. Nix. The rest of the team has yielded twenty-five rushing touchdowns during that 34-game span.
Coming up with big plays seems to be commonplace for Nix. He had 28 third-down stops and three more on fourth-down snaps for the Irish. He delivered 24 of his 123 career tackles inside the red zone, with nine coming on goal-line stands. He also led the team with fifteen touchdown-saving tackles during the last two seasons. Among his nineteen quarterback pressures, thirteen were recorded on third-down plays and two resulted in fumbles while two more led to interceptions by those opposing quarterbacks.
Prior to his arrival at Notre Dame University, Nix was an outstanding interior lineman for head coach Cedric Thornton’s Raines High School football team. After recording a combined nineteen sacks as a sophomore and junior, he registered ten more during his final season. He also posted 60 tackles in 2008, followed by a 50-tackle performance in 2009.
Nix was regarded as the seventh-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service placed him 14th on their Florida Top 100 list. Scout.com ranked him ninth nationally among defensive tackles and both services accorded Nix four-star prospect status. Super Prep rated him the eighth-best defensive tackle in the high school ranks while naming him to their All-American team in 2009.
The defensive lineman was also a member of the Florida Super 75 and Jacksonville Super 24 teams selected by the Jacksonville Times-Union following his senior year, in addition to receiving All-First Coast honors and being named the “most disruptive player” in the state by that news service in 2009. The Times-Union had previously chosen him second-team All-First Coast in 2008, and selected him first-team All-First Coast as a sophomore in 2007.
Nix helped lead Raines High to an appearance in the Florida state playoffs as a sophomore, as the Vikings compiled a 7-4 record. He concluded his prep career by playing in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Florida. He also lettered in basketball, as that team recorded a 13-10 record in the Class 3A District III ranks in 2009.
Recruited by Tony Alford, he signed his national letter of intent to attend Notre Dame in December, 2009, after most recruiting services first projected that he would sign with the University of Miami.
Renowned high school football analyst Tom Lemming called Nix a player that loves to mix it up and has as much or more athletic ability as Todd Chandler (Northwestern High defensive tackle who later went to South Florida). Lemming noted on game films that Nix can easily dominate the inside game. He called the down lineman fairly productive as a pass rusher and noted that his greatest attribute is his ability to diagnose plays quickly and makes tackles.
Lemming also stated that Nix is able to drive blockers backward, keep his feet moving, and can run well laterally. He cited the Raines High product’s success in beating most high school blockers one-on-one, as he showed a pretty good spin move, and always seemed to be able to get his hands on the blocker first, because Nix is blessed with very good instincts.
Nix did not see action with the Notre Dame varsity in 2010, but went on to start eleven games as a red-shirt freshman the following season. He delivered 46 tackles (13 solos), assisting on a sack while posting 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and six quarter-back pressures. On 44 running plays vs. the nose guard, opponents managed just 71 yards, registering thirteen third-down hits and another on a fourth-down snap.
As a sophomore, Nix received All-American second-team honors in 2012. He was also named third-team by CBS Sports and captured the Moose Krause Defensive Lineman of the Year Award. He led the Irish down linemen with 50 tackles (20 solos), adding two sacks, 7.5 stops-for-loss and ten quarterback pressures. He caused one fumble and broke up five passes. He also collected fifteen third-down tackles, two more on fourth-down plays and delivered thirteen hits inside the red zone, including five on goal-line stands.
After a junior season that saw him post fifty tackles with two sacks and 7.5 stops-for-loss, Nix was constantly double- and triple-teamed, as he managed only 27 tackles with two stops behind the line of scrimmage during the first eight games of the 2013 campaign.
Nix started 30-of-34 games at nose guard for Notre Dame, recording 123 tackles (44 solos) that included 2.5 sacks for minus 10 yards, fourteen stops for losses totaling 32 yards and eighteen quarterback pressures … Caused one fumble and deflected six passes … Against the run, he made 92 plays, limiting those ball carriers to just 88 yards (0.96 ypc) and six first downs. He posted seventeen third-down tackles and two fourth-down hits vs. the ground game, in addition to posting 24 tackles inside the red zone, including nine on goal-line plays while producing twelve touchdown-saving tackles vs. the ground game … On 29 passes targeted into his area, only one pass was caught by the opposition, good for an 11-yard gain, as he posted thirteen of his pressures on third-down plays and one more on a fourth-down snap, in addition to registering three touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial attack.
Nix was named to the watch lists for the Bednarick Award, Maxwell Award Watch, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award … A consensus All-American preseason selection, Nix started all eight games he played in, including the first seven contests on the regular season schedule … Recorded 27 tackles (11 solos) with two stops behind the line of scrimmage, two QB pressures and a pair of pass deflections … He crushed Devin Gardner on a reverse while posting four solo tackles vs. Michigan and made three tackles, all inside the red zone vs. Purdue … He broke up a pass and made a season-high six tackles vs. Michigan State, followed by a five-tackle performance in the Oklahoma clash … After sitting out the Air Force and Navy games due to his knee injury, he limped on to the field and registered five tackles with a stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Pittsburgh, but that would be his final college game.
The second-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report and third-team choice by CBS Sports was the unquestioned leader of an Irish front wall that saw Notre Dame rank 11th in the nation in rush defense (105.69 ypg), a marked improvement from the previous season when that unit placed 47th nationally (138.92 ypg) … The ability of the red-shirt sophomore nose guard to dominate the middle of the field, constantly occupying multiple blockers cleared the way for the second level defenders to also be a force in pass protection, as opponents averaged just 199.77 aerial yards per game, as he received Notre Dame “Moose Krause” Defensive Lineman of the Year recognition … The defensive unit finished seventh in the NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division ranks in total defense (305.46 ypg) and second in scoring defense, yielding just 12.77 points per game while compiling a 12-1 record and earning a berth in the BCS Championship Game … In 2011, the Irish ranked 30th in the FBS in total defense (344.69 ypg) and 24th in scoring defense (20.69 ppg) … Nix delivered 50 tackles (20 solos) with a pair of sacks for minus 9 yards, 7.5 stops for losses of 20 yards and ten quarterback pressures … He also caused one fumble and deflected five passes … The massive nose guard was simply impossible to run against. In 48 plays made vs. the ground game, Nix limited those ball carriers to just 17 yards, an average of 0.35 yards per attempt, the lowest figure for any starting nose guard at the major college level … In addition to taking down running back nine times for losses (assists and solos), he stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on nine other plays … Also delivered seven touchdown-saving tackles vs. the run and two more on pass plays, as he killed twenty potential touchdown drives, as he posted fifteen third-down hits, including eight on running plays and seven more in passing situations, made two fourth-down hits (one each vs. the run and pass), caused one fumble and also caused two interceptions on two of his ten QB hurries … Made thirteen of his tackles inside the red zone, including five during goal-line plays … Allowed just two first downs on running plays … On 21 pass plays into his territory, the opposition completed just one attempt for eleven yards (vs. Oklahoma) … Proving just how invaluable Nix was to the defense, when he left the field early in the third quarter with a leg injury vs. Alabama in the BCS Championship Game, the Tide immediately attacked the middle of the Irish front wall, torching Notre Dame for 75 yards on thirteen carries up the middle of the field before the sophomore returned to “plug the leak.” … Appeared in thirteen games, as he earned eleven starting assignments, coming off the bench vs. Michigan State and Pittsburgh (missed most of the week’s practices leading up to the Panthers encounter due to flu-like symptoms) … In a 50-10 victory over Navy, Nix recorded three tackles, with two coming behind the line of scrimmage in the season opener … Delivered two of his four tackles behind the line of scrimmage and ended one potential scoring drive with a third-down pass deflection, as he batted down two tosses for the day and registered three tackles inside the red zone, including two on goal-line snaps, preventing a pair of touchdowns for the day vs. Purdue … Came off the bench and registered five stops, including one touch-down-saving tackle in a 20-3 triumph over Michigan State … In a “too close for comfort” 20-17 decision over Brigham Young, the Irish have their nose guard to thank for the addition to the “Win column,” as he set the tone that the “new sheriff in town” would not take any nonsense from offensive linemen attacking his legs. After one attempted chop block, Nix took “matters into his own hands,” but was flagged for a personal foul. He retaliated by making one touchdown-saving tackle when he came out of nowhere to level Riley Nelson at the ND 12-yard line after quarterback escaped defensive end Stephen Tuitt and appeared heading to the end zone. Nix fought off several blockers to take the Cougar down … In the BCS Championship Game vs. Alabama, the Irish weren’t helped by losing senior defensive captain Kapron Lewis-Moore to a first-half knee injury, along with Nix limping much of the second half with a leg injury, as the Tide rolled to a 42-14 victory while capturing the national championship. Nix injured his leg, but managed to return in the second half. With their “fireplug” out of the lineup, Notre Dame was easy prey for ‘Bama ball carriers, as they gained 75 yards on thirteen carries up the middle of the field with Nix on the side-lines after he had to be assisted off the field.
Nix was named Freshman All-American by The NFL Draft Report, as he started all but the season opener vs. South Florida and the Navy contest at nose guard … Finished with 46 tackles (13 solos), as he assisted on a sack and posted 4.5 stops for losses of 9 yards … Added six quarterback pressures and deflected one pass … Registered 44 plays vs. the ground game, holding those ball carriers to 71 yards, no touchdowns and only four first downs, as he posted nine third-down hits, one more on a fourth-down snap and five touchdown-saving tackles vs. the rushing attack … Delivered eleven tackles inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays … Among his six pressures, four came on third-down snaps, as he also produced one touchdown-saving tackle vs. the aerial game.
Nix joined the Notre Dame program, but did not play during his first season at the university.
2012 Season … Suffered a wrist injury on a goal-line stand vs. Southern California (11/24) … Nix was forced to the sidelines for several series after he suffered a leg injury vs. Alabama (1/07/13).
2013 Season … Nix sat out five of the team’s final six games after undergoing left knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
5.42 in the 40-yard dash … 1.89 10-yard dash … 3.13 20-yard dash … 4.94 20-yard shuttle … 8.29 three-cone drill … 25 ½-inch vertical jump … 8’-1” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times … 33-inch arm length … 9 7/8-inch hands … 78 ¼-inch wingspan.
Nix attended William M. Raines (Jacksonville, Fla.) High School, playing football for Vikings head coach Cedric Thornton … Recorded a combined nineteen sacks as a sophomore and junior, adding ten more during his final season … Also posted 60 tackles in 2008, followed by a 50-tackle performance in 2009 … Regarded as the seventh-best defensive tackle in the nation by Rivals.com, as that recruiting service placed him 14th on their Florida Top 100 list … Scout.com ranked him ninth nationally among defensive tackles and both services accorded Nix four-star prospect status … Was rated the eighth-best defensive tackle in the high school ranks by Super Prep, as they also named him to their All-American team in 2009 … Member of the Florida Super 75 and Jacksonville Super 24 teams selected by the Jacksonville Times-Union following his senior year, in addition to receiving All-First Coast honors and being named the “most disruptive player” in the state by that news service in 2009 … The Times-Union had previously chosen him second-team All-First Coast in 2008, and selected him first-team All-First Coast as a sophomore … Also helped lead Raines High to an appearance in the Florida state playoffs as a sophomore, as the Vikings compiled a 7-4 record … Concluded his prep career by playing in the 2010 Under Armour All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Florida … Also lettered in basketball, as that team recorded a 13-10 record in the Class 3A District III ranks in 2009 … Graduated with a 2.5 grade point average.
Nix is a Film, Television and Theatre major, enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters … Son of Stephanie Ancrum and Louis Nix … Born 7/31/91 … Resides in Jacksonville, Florida.