Notre Dame RB Cierre Wood to go pro

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood will enter the NFL draft.

Wood ran for 742 yards and four touchdowns this season, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He is ranked 16th among running back draft prospects by ESPN Scouts Inc.

"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 in a statement released by Notre Dame. "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."

Wood, who is 6-foot and 215 pounds, ran for 1,705 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first two seasons. He was limited to 2 yards on four carries in Notre Dame's 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS national title game.

Wood has been told he may be a third-round draft choice, but hopes to improve upon that status with workouts, a source said. Wood has a 1-year-old daughter, which was a factor in his decision.

"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 in the news release. "I wish him well in the future and hope he has a successful playing career at the next level."