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Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood entering NFL Draft

FILE - In this Oct. 20 2012 file phoNotre Dame running back Cierre Wood center cuts between Brigham Young defenders

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2012, file photo, Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood, center, cuts between Brigham Young defenders Spencer Hadley, left, Daniel Sorensen, left center, and Joe Sampson during the second half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame defeated BYU 17-14. With the national championship on the line, two throwback offenses will slug it out. No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Alabama rely heavily on the run, and that doesn't figure to change in the biggest game of the year. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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Updated: January 14, 2013 2:00PM

Cierre Wood will forego his final year of eligibility at Notre Dame

and enter the NFL Draft, the university announced.

Wood rushed for 1,102 yards as a junior before being suspended for the

first two games of the 2012 season for unspecified violations of team


When Wood returned to the Irish, Theo Riddick had established himself

as the starting running back. Wood averaged only 11 carries per game

for Notre Dame this season but broke runs of 62 yards against Oklahoma

and 64 yards versus Wake Forest. His 6.7 yards-per-carry average was

14th best in the nation this season.

Woods’ 2,447 yards makes him the seventh-leading rusher in school

history. No Notre Dame running back with as many career rushes has a

better yards-per-rush average than his 5.4 career mark.

“Having to make a decision whether to stay in school or leave to

pursue a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL is never simple,” Wood

said in a statement. “I had to weigh many factors over the last month,

but ultimately it came down to what I felt was the right decision that

would most benefit my family. With that in mind, I’m leaving Notre

Dame and am entering my name for this year’s NFL Draft.”

With Riddick graduating and Wood turning pro, the bulk of the

rushing duties next seson will fall to junior George Atkinson III.

Atkinson is one of the fastest players on the Irish

roster but was used sparingly last season.

“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,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “I wish him

well in the future and hope he has a successful playing career at the

next level.”

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