Louis Nix became a household name last fall by helping to anchor the Notre Dame defensive effort that led to a national title game berth.

Heading into his senior season, he is Mel Kiper’s No. 1 DT (subscription required) in the 2014 draft and there are a few keys to his game that make him the best college has to offer this season along the line.

His first step is his biggest asset, especially considering his 340-pound frame. He is patient in the pile and trusts his instincts. Nix’s most elite quality is his hustle, never quitting on plays and always ending up near the pile.

Penetration

As a nose tackle, Nix is intent on plugging the center for the defense and getting penetration through the center of the line.

How Nix is able to accomplish this is with his explosive first step. For a guy that plays in the 340-pound range, beating a center and guard combo off of the football is impressive. He was able to get past the best last year’s schedule had to offer, including national champion Alabama.