Notre Dame junior nose tackle Louis Nix III, who recently had relatively minor knee surgery and will miss the Irish's bowl game, has signed with an agent and will bypass his senior season, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Nix (6-foot-2, 357 pounds) is considered by most to be the best nose tackle prospect available in the draft, and thus especially valuable for a team that plays a 3-4 defense; most analysts expect him to be a first-round selection.
He missed the final two regular-season games after having surgery; he also missed back-to-back games in late October and early November with minor knee issues.
Nix had 27 tackles this season after finishing with 50 last fall. He is strong and quick, has a solid base and generally has required a double team; his effectiveness up front is one reason Manti Te'o was able to play rather unimpeded by offensive linemen in 2012.
After redshirting as a freshman in 2010, Nix was a three-year starter for the Irish. He signed with Five Star Athlete Management.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.