Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood will forgo his final season of athletic eligibility and submit his name for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Wood is projected as high as a 3rd round selection or could possibly not even be drafted, depending on how workouts go between now and April.
“Having to make a decision like whether to stay in school or leave to pursue a lifelong dream of playing in the NFL is never simple,” Wood said. “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."
Cierre has a one-year-old daughter.
Wood leaves Notre Dame as the seventh-leading rusher in school history, having gained 2,447 yards on 450 career carries. No running back in Notre Dame history with as many career rushes as Wood has a better yards-per-rush average as his 5.4 yards-per-carry average.
“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. 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.
“I also want to thank all of the coaches, specifically Coach Kelly and Coach Alford. Coach Kelly has the program heading in the right direction and I’m happy to know he’ll remain our head coach in the future. Coach Alford has been so much more than a coach to me. He’s been a mentor and a role model. He’s helped turn me into the man I am today.
“Lastly, I want to thank the school, our fans and the extended Notre Dame family. The love and appreciation you’ve shown me in my four years can never be repaid. I’ll always remember the ovation I received as I ran out of the tunnel on senior day and I can’t thank you enough.”
Wood became the 16th Notre Dame running back to eclipse 2,000 career rushing yards and his 52 career receptions are tied for eighth all-time among Notre Dame running backs. He started 18 of 37 career games played for the Irish and scored 18 total touchdowns at Notre Dame (16 rushing and two receiving).
“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 head coach Brian Kelly said. “I wish him well in the future and hope he has a successful playing career at the next level.”
Wood totaled 742 rushing yards in 2012 and was Notre Dame’s second-leading rusher. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry and scored four rushing touchdowns this year. Wood posted a season-best 150 rushing yards on 11 carries on senior day vs. Wake Forest and recorded 114 yards on 18 carries against BYU. Perhaps Wood’s most memorable run was the 62-yard touchdown at Oklahoma that gave the Irish a 7-3 lead vs. the Sooners.
In 2011, Wood registered the 16th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history as he paced the Irish with 1,102 yards on 217 rushes and added nine touchdowns. He caught a career-high 27 passes for 189 yards and Wood’s 1,291 total yards from scrimmage in 2011 were the ninth most in school history.
After sitting out his freshman season, Wood led the Irish in 2010 with 603 rushing yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry. He added 20 receptions for 170 yards and two receiving touchdowns and returned 15 kickoffs for 300 yards.
Wood’s Place in the Notre Dame Record Books
Career Rushing Yards – 7th, 2,447
Career Receptions by a Running Back – tied 8th, 52
Career Yards from Scrimmage – 9th, 2,831
Career 100-Yard Rushing Games – 12th, 6
Single-Season Yards from Scrimmage – 9th, 1,291 (2011)
Single-Season TD Receptions by a Running Back – tied 9th, 2 (2010)
Single-Season Receptions by a Running Back – 10th, 27 (2011)
Single-Game Yards per Rush – 4th, 13.6 (2012 vs. Wake Forest)