"I think I cried, I don't know why, but I think I started crying," Nix said with a laugh.
Luke Nix eventually got a chance to play with kids his own age, and has dominated ever since. A two-way standout in the trenches at Thomas Jefferson High in Clairton, Pa., the 6-foot-6, 285-pound defensive tackle/offensive tackle said he has scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Ohio State, Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, Indiana and Virginia. Notre Dame has been sending a lot of mail, and Irish assistant John Latina dropped by the school during the season.
"They called the other day, but I don't know if they are going to come out here or what," head coach Bill Cherpak said. Nix could play defensive tackle or somewhere on the offensive line on the next level. "I told him we were going to make our way out there."
"I think we're going to go up to Michigan, and I think we are going to stop at Notre Dame, go up to Iowa, hit up Tennessee, and come back to Pittsburgh," Nix said of his spring break rendezvous with Cherpak.
Nix got invited to Notre Dame's recent junior day, Jan. 27, but couldn't make it. He had a basketball game, a sport he plays to improve his footwork.
Playing with the older kids throughout his whole youth football career, put Nix in position to earn the starting defensive tackle job as a freshman. In Cherpak's 12 seasons at Thomas Jefferson, he has had only three players start as ninth graders.
It didn't take long for everyone to realize Nix's potential. This past season he had 72 tackles and five sacks, helping lead Thomas Jefferson to a 14-1 record and a berth in the state semifinals.
"He causes so many problems," Cherpak said. "There isn't anyone that can match up with him one-on-one, so they have to double and sometimes triple team him. Whether he makes the tackle or not, he makes the play because so many people have to block him."
Nix's sophomore year, he moved into the starting lineup at guard. This past season he played right tackle.
"We pulled a lot," Cherpak said. "We run behind him a lot and we also pull a lot and have him lead the play because he can run. Its tough for a team to think we are going to run behind him, when we can pull him. Its either run behind him or pull him. He just makes so many things happen."
Cherpak couldn't project his star on either side of the ball on the next level.
"Initially, I thought on the offensive side of the ball, but he is so quick off the ball, uses his hands well," Cherpak explained. "His arms, he has incredibly long arms. If he is touching you, you can't touch him, his arms are so long, so he can do both. It will be up to the coaches."
"I have no preference, but I like playing on defense and hitting people," Nix stated.
Nix said his fastest 40-yard dash time is 5.1. He reported a max bench press of 290 pounds, and that he squats 325 pounds in sets of six. He has a 2.6 GPA.
Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt was the first to offer Nix, having the paperwork at the school on Sept. 1, the first day juniors could be offered. Nix's older brother Nate is a red-shirt freshman linebacker for the Panthers.
"I was real excited," Nix said. "They told me they were going to do it, but I didn't know they were going to do it right away. I go into school and my coach called me down and had the papers on his desk. It was awesome.
"Since I have family ties there, I like them, but I'm keeping my options open. I'm going to look around.
One of the places Nix looked was Columbus, Ohio. He was there for No. 1 Ohio State's victory over No. 2 Michigan.
"That was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life so far. It was pretty sweet," Nix said.
Cherpak advises his players to commit to a school before their senior season, so they don't have any distractions. Nix said he plans to commit in either late spring or the during summer.
With eight offers in hand, Nix still includes Notre Dame among his favorites.
"Just the tradition, and the persona and how they go about things, they are real professional," Nix said. "I've loved Notre Dame ever since I was a little kid."
A little kid crying because he had to play with the older boys.