Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly confirmed what had been expected – nose guard Louis Nix III has finished his college career.
Kelly said Sunday Nix signed with an agent and will not return for a fifth year with the Irish. The senior could have returned after not playing as a freshman.
Nix hinted that he was not going to come back to Notre Dame on Thursday when he posted a message on his Twitter account with an emoticon crying and an Instagram photo with the Golden Dome reflected in the driver's side mirror of a car pulling away from campus. Reports surfaced Friday that Nix had signed with an agent.
Because Nix signed with an agent, he cannot travel with Notre Dame (8-4) to the Pinstripe Bowl, where the Irish will play Rutgers (6-6), and Nix will not receive any of the bowl gifts that his teammates will receive. The 6-foot-2, 349-pounder already wasn't going to play in the bowl after having season-ending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee on Nov. 21.
"He's not allowed to be part of the bowl, in terms of bowl gifts, bowl travel, all of those things," Kelly said.
Nix is projected as a first-round selection for the upcoming NFL draft.
Kelly said he was not involved in the conversations with Nix signing with an agent until it was too late to warn the player that he would be excluded from the bowl trip. But the coach didn't express any ill will over Nix, who will earn his degree at the end of the semester, deciding to leave.
"There's a lot of factors that are involved there," Kelly said. "I think the most important choice he made was coming to ND and getting his degree. The rest of those, you're splitting hairs. We'll find out."
There still hasn't been a decision on the future of another Irish defensive lineman who is projected to be a first-round NFL draft pick.
Kelly said junior Stephon Tuitt is still mulling his options.
"He's going to class, doing the deal," Kelly said. "All we've done is put in his paperwork to get an evaluation from the NFL. I've had some preliminary conversations about his academic work. We still have some work to do after that. We haven't really dived into the depth of that yet."