Notre Dame senior running back Cierre Wood declared for the NFL Draft on Monday forgoing his final year of eligibility. The move comes as no surprise as it was widely believed Wood would leave early if his draft stock was high enough. Wood also cited the desire to be closer to his one-year old daughter who currently lives in Las Vegas with her mother as a factor for leaving.
Wood is said to be a mid-round draft pick at this point. He comes off a personally disappointing season where he rushed 114 times for 742 yards and four touchdowns. He missed the first two games of the season because of a suspension, and then in the final two contests carried the ball just 12 times for 22 yards. He did, however. rush for 1,102 and nine touchdowns as a junior in 2011.
His departure, coupled with the graduation of starter Theo Riddick, creates a big hole at running back next season for the Irish. George Atkinson III figures to get the first crack at the job. He rushed 361 yards and five touchdowns this season as a sophomore. After Atkinson, the door is wide open. Sophomore Cam McDaniel carried the ball 23 times for 125 yards and a score this season in three games, but he figures to get some serious competition from sophomore Amir Carlisle and freshman Will Mahone both of whom reshirted this season. Five-star recruit Greg Bryant and four-star Tarean Folston will also enter the picture next fall.