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Dr. Saturday

Cierre Wood will reportedly leave Notre Dame early for the NFL Draft

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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.

(USA Today Sports Images)

Notre Dame kept Brian Kelly, but it had to know it couldn't keep everyone for the 2013 season.

Running back Cierre Wood will leave school early to enter the NFL Draft, ESPN.com reported. It's easy to see his logic, even though he isn't expected to go in the early rounds of the draft.

Like most running backs, Wood's draft stock isn't going to climb too much more with a good senior season, and every college carry puts miles on his legs. There is also a good chance of injury at the position, as South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore can attest.

Wood split duties this year with senior Theo Riddick. Although he only had 114 carries he made the most with them, averaging 6.5 per carry for 742 yards. He also has 52 career catches, so he has that skill as well. Wood has good size (6-0, 215 by Notre Dame's listings) and big-play ability, and this isn't a very strong draft class for running backs. He'll try to improve his stock over the next few months.

For Notre Dame, it will be tough to lose its top two running backs, but sophomore George Atkinson did well in his limited duty, averaging 7.1 yards on his 51 attempts. And with Kelly back and the Irish recruiting well, they should be able to weather some defections.

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