When Louis Nix announced that he would return to Notre Dame for his Senior season, it delayed the inevitable drop-off that will occur along the Defensive Line when he departs for the NFL. By staying another year, it gave the Irish another year to recruit and/or develop the next Louis Nix. Players of that the combined size, strength and quickness are not readily available.
Notre Dame thought it may have landed a future stalwart at the Nose Guard position in 2013 UCLA enrollee Eddie Vanderdoes. Despite the fact he signed with the Irish, he chose to stay closer to home due to family health concerns.
There are two players that are left on the 2014 recruiting board that can probably help the Fighting Irish at the Nose Guard spot. They are Brooklyn New York’s Thomas Holley and Elizabethtown Kentucky’s Matt Elam.
Holley hails from the same high school as current Notre Dame Outside Linebacker Ishaq Williams. Like Williams, Holley is a five-star player according to 247Sports. He recently gained his 5th star at Nike’s “The Opening”.
Notre Dame is not a slam dunk to land Holley but they are in the mix along with Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Alabama, Florida and Florida State. Notre Dame is probably running closer to the top of that list with Penn State and Ohio State.
The reality about the Fighting Irish landing a Nose Guard is a bit of a double-edged sword. The Irish need to land a Nose Guard. However, realistically, a freshman will not be able to help the Irish at the position. The next Louis Nix will have to come from within the program in 2014.