Dec 17, 2012, 12:55 PM EDT
It was a press conference about Notre Dame’s upcoming BCS national championship game, but for me, the biggest news of the day was about next season.
Though it might not come as a surprise, it’s huge news for a team that built much of its 2012 success upon veteran leadership.
Martin, one of four captains on this year’s Irish squad, has started all 38 games over the past three seasons. He received the Offensive Lineman of the Year Award at the Notre Dame Football Awards Show earlier this month, and his experience and vocal presence have been an integral part of the Fighting Irish’s 12-0 season.
On the other side of the ball, Nix has been a menacing defensive player at nose guard. The junior finished the regular season with 45 stops, including 5.5 tackles for a loss. Nix also had two sacks, five pass breakups and a forced fumble. He and defensive end Stephon Tuitt were co-recipients of the Moose Krause Lineman of the Year Award at this year’s awards show.
Not only is he 6-foot-3 and more than 300 lbs., but Nix, known to many as “Irish Chocolate,” is also one of the biggest personalities on the team.
In a sport where four- and five-star recruits are constantly on the radar, getting guys like Nix and Martin back, when the NFL Draft was a realistic option, is like signing six-star prospects. Following Michael Floyd and Manti Te’o before them, it says a lot about this university and football program, that student-athletes value a Notre Dame degree and the college experience over the money awaiting them in professional football.
Meanwhile, senior running back Cierre Wood will wait to hear back on his NFL evaluation, before making a decision.
Check back to UND.com later for video from today’s BCS Media Day.
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