Cubs

Lighthearted Nix maturing into force on Notre Dame D-line

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Lighthearted Nix maturing into force on Notre Dame D-line

As Notre Dame's defense has spurred its 4-0 start, Louis Nix has begun to earn national praise for his work on the interior of the Irish defensive line.

But not everyone is praising his work as a defensive tackle, although that's because Nix's little brother, Kenneth, has his older brother's position mixed up.

"I dont know where they got quarterback from," Nix laughed. "My little brother had a presentation for class and he told them I was the quarterback."

But Nix wasn't going to leave it at that.

"You know, right about now, I would love to play quarterback," he continued, in complete deadpan mode. "I think Id be real good at it, you know, put me in the wildcat. I dont even want to play running back, though, I want to be a wildcat QB.

"I look like one, huh?" the 326-pound Nix added between bites of a Hershey's bar.

But that's just Louis Nix. His outgoing personality is well-documented on his "Chocolate News" series on YouTube, which has featured Nix making fun of Stephon Tuitt's golf swing and scolding Sheldon Day for trying to buy a box of Honey Buns.

"The other day, this guy was a graduate, him and his wife from Notre Dame in 92. They drove past me in their car, did a U-ie (U-turn), stopped me in the parking lot," Nix recalled. "And was like Louis, Louis! I was walking with Bennett Jackson, and I was like do you know them? And he was like no, so I walked to the car and they were like Oh my god, my kids watch your show all the time whenever you make one, we love you man, keep making them and youre such a role model.

"That was unexpected to me, but it made me happy that different people watch it. Even students watch it, some of them. Its kind of nice."

Nix doesn't come across a serious guy. When asked about his biggest weakness -- Cinnamon Toast Crunch -- Nix offered up this gem:

"If they dont have it, I get cranky. I dont want to eat Honey Bunches of Oats. Really? I need something sweet."

But when Nix needs to serious, he can be. Ask any one of his defensive teammates and they'll say Nix is a much more mature player than he was a year ago. And with that maturity has come leadership.

"Louis is an emotional person. And when hes pissed, hes going to let you know hes pissed," cornerback Bennett Jackson said. "Hes starting to become more vocal, and I feel like thats definitely starting to help him, because theres not too many guys that are gonna snap back at Big Lou, for obvious reasons. Just him being there and being on you, thats just another voice in your head boosting you."

Kapron Lewis Moore is one of Notre Dame's two defensive captains, and the senior defensive end has seen those same leadership qualities emerge from the guy next to him on the line.

"He's grown up a lot," Lewis-Moore said. "He's really understanding the game. He's taken that next-level thinking, so Louis has really made tremendous strides. And his leadership is starting to mature a little bit too. I can't wait to see what happens to him in the future."

Looking into the past, Nix was initially committed to play for his hometown team at Miami before flipping to Notre Dame later in his recruitment process. And for Nix to be in South Bend is a bit of an upset, as he had never been out of the state of Florida before visiting Notre Dame.

"It was cold, I hated it so much," Nix said. "It was too cold for me."

But the allure of a challenge at Notre Dame, not only on the field but also in the classroom, was too great for Nix to pass up.

"Coming up when I was getting recruited, going to different schools in Florida, and hearing from people that went to college for football, they told me itd be a little bit easy, class wouldnt be that hard, blah blah blah," Nix said. "They told me, you come here, its not going to be that easy, youre going to have to push yourself. And me, I like pushing myself. I like to take up a challenge. Somebody tells me, like coach Kelly challenged me last year I needed to be consistent. And I followed through with that. Coming here, they told me itd be a challenge.

"Right now, Im almost to a 3.0 (GPA). I just like taking up challenges, and I think thats a good thing."

The next challenge for Nix comes on Saturday, when Notre Dame takes on Miami. That irony isn't lost on Nix, especially with people in his ear chiding his decision to head to the state of Indiana.

"A lot of people at home told me I was kinda crazy for coming up here in the cold, some place out of nowhere in South Bend, Indiana, wherever that is," Nix said. "And now, I get to play against them, and a lot of people back home I can show them what Im made of and I made the right decision."

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.