Wood Shakes Off The Rust

SAN ANTONIO - At the West's two practices on Monday, U.S. Army All-American Cierre Wood was trying to get a better look at his future Notre Dame teammates, Chris Watt and Shaquelle Evans.

Running back Cierre Wood knew a little bit about Evans, a receiver, as they both hail from the Los Angeles area, but he was particularly interested in Watt, the five-star offensive guard he envisions opening holes for him on the college level.

"I was watching Chris," the 6-foot, 196-pound Wood said. "He was putting some dudes on their backs. I was thinking, I can see him doing that up at ND."

Wood thought Watt and Evans practiced well, while he could've been better.

"They looked great," Wood stated. "I looked alright because I'm still in basketball mode. I got a day's worth under my belt so I should look better (Tuesday).

"I was making plays, but I just still feel I'm not up to where I should be."

Wood put the ball on the ground in the morning practice, but really started to come on and make plays as the day went on. How could Wood of felt being anything but rusty?

In the second to last game of Santa Clara High's regular season, the Oxnard, Calif., product went down with an ankle injury all but ending his season. He tried to play a couple snaps in the state playoffs to help his team in mid-November, but his ankle wasn't ready.

The same ankle that Wood carried the ball 121 times for 1,526 yards (12.61 avg.) and 20 touchdowns on, is now fine. He also averaged 34.4 yards per kick return, and had 26 total scores.

"I think my game will come back fast though," Wood said of this week. "I think I should have it a couple hours into practice on (Tuesday)."

Wood is looking forward to making an impact on Saturday's nationally televised game on NBC. He will share snaps with running backs Chris Whaley, a Texas commit, and Christine Michael, who gave his verbal pledge to Texas A&M.

"Some people want to start and feel that's a great accomplishment than doing good in the game," Wood explained. "Me personally, if I start, I do, if I don't, either way I'm going to get carries, so it's all a matter of playing well for me."

Wood would particularly like to play well at the expense of another future Notre Dame teammate, Tyler Stockton, who will line up at defensive tackle for the East team.

"I told him, he has these delusions that, he says (changing his voice to sound like Stockton's) Tyler Stockton makes Cierre Wood fumble, and I'm like when you wake up you can come talk to me. It's not going to happen."

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