FORT WAYNE – Notre Dame appears to have its bowl destination booked, and one of its top defensive players appears to have decided to go to the NFL.
The Irish accepted an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York’s Yankee Stadium, according to multiple reports. And nose guard Louis Nix III signed with an agent, which would negate his eligibility for a fifth year, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal.
A Notre Dame spokesman said the earliest the Irish would announce what bowl they would play in would be today. The Pinstripe Bowl website says it will announce its matchup Sunday.
On Friday, Irish defensive lineman Jarron Jones, who is from Rochester, N.Y., posted on his Twitter account: PINSTRIPE BOWL!!!!!! Coming home!!!!! #yankeestadium!!!!
Notre Dame would take the spot of a Big 12 team in the Pinstripe Bowl if it accepts the invitation.
The Big 12 only has six bowl-eligible teams to fill its seven bowl spots.
The Irish (8-4) will most likely play either Rutgers or Houston (8-4) of the American Athletic Conference in the Pinstripe Bowl. Rutgers (5-6) can become bowl eligible tonight if it defeats South Florida (2-9).
The Pinstripe Bowl will be played at 12:15 p.m. Dec. 28, and it has a projected payout of $1.8 million.
A Notre Dame spokesman could not confirm if Nix had signed with an agent. The Sports Business Journal’s Liz Mullen posted on her Twitter account that Nix signed with Five-Star Athlete Management’s Todd France and Bryan Ayrault.
The 6-foot-2, 342-pound Nix has the option to return for a fifth year, if he hasn’t signed with an agent, because he didn’t play as a freshman. But with Nix on track to earn his degree at the end of the semester and after his senior season was cut short by an injury it was doubtful he would come back to Notre Dame.
Nix’s season ended when he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee Nov. 21. Nix missed Notre Dame’s 45-10 win over Air Force on Oct. 26 and 38-34 win over Navy on Nov. 2 because of the tendinitis.
Nix had 27 tackles, with two for loss, in eight games this season. He has 122 tackles, with 22 1/2 for loss, 2 1/2 sacks, eight pass breakups and forced a fumble in 34 games.