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NCAA Football

Cierre Wood Leaving Notre Dame for the NFL

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Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

 

As many expected, Notre Dame‘s second-leading rusher, tailback Cierre Wood, has declared his intent to forego his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft this spring.

Wood broke 1,100 yards in 2011, his redshirt sophomore year, but he rushed for just 742 yards and four touchdowns this season. In his career with the Irish, he had 2,447 yards and 16 touchdowns.

He had three games with at least 100 yards rushing in each of the last two seasons, gaining big yardage against MiamiBYU, and Wake Forest this season.

Wood has explosiveness and big play potential, but he had fewer opportunities this year to put his rushing ability on display.

He was limited at the beginning of the 2012 season by a two-game suspension at the start of the year, for a violation of team rules, and at the end of the season by the Alabama defense, which held Wood to just two yards on four carries in the BCS National Championship game last week.

Wood also spent the year sharing carries with fellow Irish running back Theo Riddick. The two players combined for 1,659 yards on the year, but had just 39 total yards in the championship loss.

Before the BCS title game, Wood’s mother told The Chicago Tribune her son was “70-30 he’s leaning that he’s taking it to the next level.”

ESPN’s Joe Schad reported that Wood was told he’d likely be a third-round pick in the draft. ESPN Stats Inc. has him rated as the 16th draft-eligible running back this year.

Sources have speculated that Wood would be motivated to enter the draft so he would be better able to support his one-year old daughter, Braelyn, who currently lives with Wood’s mother in Las Vegas.

If he stayed at Notre Dame, he’d be facing another year of competing for carries – and putting his body at risk – while trying to boost his numbers and his draft stock. Even third-round running backs in the NFL get paid more than college football players, so it’s a smart decision for a single father with the speed to make it at the next level.

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