Thursday, December 20, 2012
Nix, Martin coming back for family
By Matt Fortuna
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Louis Nix wants to walk with his mother. Zack Martin wants to play with his brother.
In deciding to return to Notre Dame for one more season, both of the standout linemen chose family over finances, the nose guard seeking a senior day moment he never got at the prep level, while the left tackle relishes the chance to line up on the same unit with his kin.
"My brothers and sisters, they didn't really care," Nix said. "My dad, he knew the decision was up to me. Just my mom, she called me every day, like, 'I can't wait to walk on the field with you for Senior Day.' In high school, she didn't get to do it with me. She barely made it to any of my games. She didn't do the Senior Day with me in high school and she cried about it. So that was a big one for me."
An aunt in the crowd noticed the lonely Nix make the walk to midfield and alerted his mother, Stephanie Wingfield, who had another shift to tend to at the hospital cafeteria.
"I couldn't afford to let her take off, she couldn't afford to take off herself," Nix said. "She cried when that happened, she was kind of mad at me. I walked on the field by myself and people were like, 'Where's his parents?' She didn't like stuff like that. This will give her an opportunity to come up and do that for once."
Even if that means one more year of 10 people living inside their three-bedroom Jacksonville, Fla., home.
Nix has 13 siblings in all, and no one in his family had seen a college game of his before last year's Champs Sports Bowl contest in Orlando. A month before that, his father suffered a mild heart attack that had him hospitalized for two weeks.
"That'll make her happy," Nix said, referring to his mother's reaction to his decision. "We've been surviving so far. So we'll be OK, I guess."
Martin, meanwhile, is anxious to play alongside little brother Nick, a versatile redshirt freshman offensive lineman who figures to see plenty of time next year on the interior, if not start.
The redshirt junior said he had no idea what his plan would be following the regular-season finale at USC before opting to return, even before his paperwork from the NFL advisory committee returned.
"It means everything to me," Martin said of coming back. "I sat down, talked to my parents and thought about it. And to have the opportunity to come back wit Nick and finish out my career with Chris Watt and have the opportunity to play with [offensive line coach Harry] Hiestand again were really the big three things that went into that decision."