Louis Nix, and the other side of transferring

April, 18, 2012
4/18/12
5:30
PM ET
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Louis Nix is still at Notre Dame, right now, a fact a sizable group of reporters can confirm after speaking to the nose guard for the first time this spring.

"I'm here now, you see me," Nix said Wednesday, days after a series of cryptic Twitter posts caused a minor stir about his commitment to the Irish.

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame's Louis Nix
Matt Cashore/US PRESSWIRELouis Nix insists he is committed to playing for the Irish next season.
Does that mean he will be here in the fall?

"I should be," Nix said.

The mystery surrounding Nix has come toward the end of a spring season that has been less than stellar in the staff's eyes, with coach Brian Kelly mentioning on several occasions that the junior has been inconsistent.

Throw in Friday's announcement that fellow defensive lineman and Florida native Aaron Lynch would transfer at semester's end, and Nix understands how his social media use — one post this week mentioned hopping on a one-way flight — could be open for interpretation.

"You're under the public eye, so everybody is following me," Nix, the team's funny man, said during a rather reserved group interview. "People enjoy my tweets a lot. I've just got to slow down. I might say the wrong thing or I might say something cryptic and everybody thinks [it means something else]. I've just got to slow down when I tweet."

A Jacksonville, Fla., native, Nix has 13 siblings. Before last season's Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., none of his family members had seen him play in a college game. The week of Thanksgiving, Nix's father suffered a mild heart attack, keeping him in the hospital for two weeks.

Nix has talked openly about his family's less-than-ideal financial situation, saying he is playing to get to the NFL. Roughly 1,000 miles away from home in northern Indiana, he admits the thought of returning to a familiar environment has crossed his mind.

"It's hard because Florida is all I know," Nix said. "I never left until I started getting recruited. I didn't know about Notre Dame or Indiana, all that. You learn about Indiana in school, but you don't take all that in. You don't want to go a lot of places, you just want to stay where you were. That's how it was for me. It kind of bothered me some because I was scared getting on a plane for the first time, experiencing the cold for the first time. It's a lot to take in, but I think I handled it."

When addressing Lynch's departure last week, Kelly talked about the psychologist role that comes with being a college head coach, as he constantly has to manage the minds of kids experiencing their first real stretches on their own.

But Kelly said Wednesday that Nix is not one of the players he has had to worry about.

"Honestly, I couldn't say that I sense when I'm around him that his homesickness has anything to do with how he goes to work," Kelly said. "He's got to work hard every day. We're challenging him every single day, like all of our players. I think he's going through anything — if he is going through anything — it's just a matter of life at Notre Dame.

"I know there's been a lot of reports about what Lou has said and what he didn't say, I don't see that. I see a guy who's upbeat, and he's funny. I'd probably like him to stay away from the social media, but that's his own doing."

With a Twitter bio stating his goal is to get to 200,000 followers — he is more than 190,000 shy, for those counting — Nix may have to think twice from now on before pushing the "send" button.

But Nix has already exhibited similar caution through doubts going into his third year at Notre Dame. And, with a strong push, he may soon be able to set his mind toward another, more important figure, one that could benefit his family.

Matt Fortuna | email

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