Louis Nix did not go to Notre Dame because of the coach. The Irish did not even have a head coach when he committed in December of 2009, less than two months before he would sign his National Letter of Intent.

After Notre Dame hired Brian Kelly, he quickly flew to Florida to meet his future defensive tackle. Nix made it clear to Kelly why he wanted to move to South Bend.

“He did not disappoint, big fella, big personality, big smile,” Kelly said Monday when reflecting on the first time he met Nix, who was found dead over the weekend at the age of 29. “At that time, (he) just relayed to me why he was coming to Notre Dame. He wanted to do something nobody else ever thought he would do, and that was, leave Jacksonville, leave the city and graduate from Notre Dame.”

Nix was a highly-sought recruit — as Tony Alford said to Kelly right after he was hired, “We have to go see this man named Louis Nix III. We do not have any time and we have to get there immediately because he’s probably one of the best players you’re ever going to sign here.” Nix could have gone anywhere. His thought process behind leaving Florida for a challenge at Notre Dame stuck with him, though.

Entering his senior year, the 2013 season, Nix avoided any media obligations throughout training camp and for the first few weeks of the season. The outgoing crowd-pleaser was not trying to avoid the media. Rather, he needed to make sure his ducks were in a row so he could graduate in 3.5 years.

“Just get my mind right,” Nix said that September. “A lot of stuff, home, school, trying to get out of here by December, have my credits, just getting my work in order and stuff like that.”