Notre Dame’s Cierre Wood not revealing if he’s declare for NFL draft
By Mark Lazerus Sun-Times Media January 5, 2013 5:08PM
Updated: January 5, 2013 11:10PM
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Cierre Wood may or may not already have made up his mind about whether he’s going to return to Notre Dame or leave for the NFL. But either way, he’s not telling.
Wood waffled Saturday between saying he had his decision made — he joked with reporters that he had already told his 1-year-old daughter of his intentions — and saying he was still weighing his options.
Regardless, he won’t make any sort of announcement until after Monday’s BCS championship game.
“Right now, I’m not thinking about it,” he said. “I’m just thinking about the game. That’s what’s important right now.”
Wood was coming off a 1,102-yard junior season when he was suspended for the first two games of the 2012 campaign for an unspecified rules violation. In his absence, Theo Riddick seized the starting role, and Wood averaged just 11 carries per game. Showing off his explosive ability that makes him an attractive NFL prospect, he still managed to run for 740 yards — including touchdown runs of 62 yards at Oklahoma and 68 yards against Wake Forest. His 6.7-yards-per-carry average is 14th-best in the nation.
“It’s been difficult, but what I try to do is make plays sooner and faster,” Wood said of his reduced role. “Midway through the season, that’s what I started doing. I’d only have six or seven carries, but 100-something yards. I just try to make big runs as soon as I can.”
Riddick graduates this year, leaving Wood to compete with George Atkinson III, USC transfer Amir Carlisle and incoming five-star recruit Greg Bryant for carries, should he choose to come back.
“There are a lot of things I’m looking at,” Wood said. “I’ll go over that with my family. And when I feel the time is right, or if I feel that’s what I want to do, then the decision will be made.”
Discount double check? A common question posed to Notre Dame players throughout the week is whether or not they’re insulted by being a 10-point underdog despite being the undefeated No. 1 team. Brian Kelly answered the question the same way most of his players did — with a shrug.
“Somebody has got to be an underdog,” he said. “I would say Alabama has got the belt, and they deserve the belt. We’ve got take it from them.”