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Fighting Irish Positional Analysis: Nose guards

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Louis "Irish Chocolate" Nix III

In the seventh of a 13-part series, looking at each position prior to signing day on Feb. 1, here is a quick rundown of the nose guards: those departed, those still on hand, those recruited, what the future holds among current junior recruits, and what the future holds at the position.

(Note: The number listed in parenthesis is the years of eligibility remaining and the listing of a player's class is based upon the upcoming 2012 season.)

ON THE ROSTER
NOSE GUARDS DEPARTED: Sean Cwynar, Hafis Williams, Brandon Newman

NOSE GUARDS RETURNING: Sr.-Tyler Stockton (2), Jr.-Louis Nix III (3), Soph.-Tony Springmann (4), Fr.-Sheldon Day (4)

POSSIBLE POSITION SWITCH: There has been some speculation that junior-to-be Kona Schwenke could move from end to the middle. Sophomore-to-be Stephon Tuitt is a defensive end, but he often slides to the middle of the line in pass rush situations. Sophomore-to-be Chase Hounshell has some nose guard/tackle characteristics. Incoming freshman Jarron Jones is a huge body that could help on the interior.

2012 TARGETS
COMMITTED NOSE GUARD RECRUITS: Sheldon Day

NOSE GUARD/DEFENSIVE TACKLE OFFERS (2011-12): Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas; Florida State commit); Eddie Goldman (Washington, D.C.); Tommy Schutt (Glen Ellyn, Ill.; Ohio State commit), Carlos Watkins (Forest City, N.C.; Clemson commit), Korren Kirven (Lynchburg, Va.), Jordan Watkins (College Park, Ga.; Stanford commit), Paul Boyette, Jr. (Humble, Texas; Texas commit)

NOSE GUARDS ON THE ND BOARD: None
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2013 TARGETS
JUNIOR NOSE GUARDS VERBALLY COMMITTED: None

JUNIOR NOSE GUARD/DEFENSIVE TACKLE OFFERS (2012-13): Jaynard Bostwick (Port Saint Lucie, Fla.), Henry Poggi (Baltimore, Md.), Billy Price (Youngstown, Ohio)

ANALYSIS
Defensive line coach Mike Elston helped develop a pretty effective one-two punch at nose guard last year with veteran Sean Cwynar opening the season as the starter and Louis Nix III coming off the bench. But a broken hand suffered by Cwynar put Nix III in the starting lineup for the third game of the season against Michigan State, and he answered the bell over the last 11 games of the season. They combined for 68 tackles, including 20 solos, which are pretty impressive numbers coming from the nose.

It appears that Cwynar will bypass a fifth-year of eligibility after meeting with Brian Kelly shortly after the bowl game. That means the future of the position is in the hands of Nix III, who has three years of eligibility, sophomore-to-be Tony Springmann (four years of eligibility) and Sheldon Day, an incoming freshman who joined classmates Gunner Kiel and Tee Shepard as early enrollees.

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