NOTRE DAME — Cierre Wood said a decision to leave Notre Dame now and put his name into the NFL Draft pool “is never simple.”
But it was inevitable.
Wood, the seventh-leading rusher in Fighting Irish football history with 2,447 yards, announced Monday, Jan. 14, that he’ll pass on his final year of collegiate eligibility and enter the 2013 draft.
And if it was going to happen, it had to happen right away. Tuesday, Jan. 15, is the final day for underclassmen to declare for the April 25-27 draft.
“I had to weigh many factors over the last month, but ultimately it came down to what I felt was the right decision for my family,” Wood said through a university press release. Wood has a 1-year-old daughter who lives with her mother in Las Vegas.
Wood racked up 742 rushing yards in a diminished 2012 role, but was still the team’s second-leading runner behind Theo Riddick. A slashing bull of halfback, Wood averaged 6.5 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns.
“Cierre has been an important member of our football team in my three years at Notre Dame and I appreciate all he did to help get our program back on top,’’ head coach Brian Kelly said. “I wish him well in the future and hope he has a successful playing career at the next level.”
According to ESPN Scouts Inc., Wood is the 16th-best running back available in the NFL Draft. Wood’s move was originally reported by ESPN’s Joe Schad.
Wood, who started in 18 of 37 games played in his career, logged a team-high 1,102 rushing yards in 2011 and added 603 yards in 2010. He’ll leave ND with a 5.4 yards-per-attempt average, the best in school history with as many rushes as Wood totaled.
Arguably, Wood’s most spectacular run of the past season was an explosive 62-yard TD dash in the victory at Oklahoma. He also added a 68-yard scoring run against Wake Forest.
Against Alabama in the BCS title game game, Wood was held to two yards on four carries.
Wood missed the season’s first two games while serving a suspension for violating team rules.
“There are so many people I need to thank that have helped get me to this point. My teammates are friends I know I’ll have the rest of my life,” Wood said. “I’ll miss hanging out with them in the locker room and around campus. They are a great group of guys and are poised for success next year.”
Juniors George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel, redshirt-freshman Will Mahone, USC transfer Amir Carlisle, and five-star freshman recruit Greg Bryant give Notre Dame a talented stable of running backs for the 2013 season.