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Cierre Wood will enter the NFL Draft

Jan 14, 2013, 12:22 PM EDT

Irish running back Wood runs for a 68 yard touchdown against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the first half of their NCAA college football game at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend

In one of the worst kept secrets surrounding the Notre Dame football team, running back Cierre Wood has declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft, bypassing his final year of eligibility with the Irish. Wood sat out his freshman year before leading the Irish in rushing in two of the last three seasons, including an 1,100 yard campaign in 2011. ESPN’s Joe Schad reports that Wood was told he could be a third-round pick, a slot the graduating senior hopes to improve in the months leading up to the NFL scouting combine.

In Wood’s three seasons at Notre Dame, he never averaged less than 5.1 yards per carry, and his senior season included a healthy 6.5 average. Yet Wood lost the role of primary back to Theo Riddick this season, with Brian Kelly and Chuck Martin choosing the converted receivers versatility and north-south style over Wood’s better pure runner skills. During Wood’s 2011 season, where he led the Irish in rushing, he also ceded primary ball carrier duties to Jonas Gray, who burst onto the scene during a phenomenal senior season before a major knee injury.

There is plenty to like about Cierre Wood the NFL prospect. He’s expected to run an impressive 40 yard dash, and shows great elusiveness for a running back that’ll likely weight close to 220 pounds when he performs for NFL scouts. He doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear on him either, as he’s shared the load in each of the past three seasons. His versatility will also be an asset, while he wasn’t featured much in the pass game this season, Wood caught 47 passes over his first two seasons in the backfield, and showed some kick return ability as well.

That being said, Wood isn’t leaving Notre Dame with his stock at an all-time high. Wood’s final two games for the Irish — two key match-ups against USC and Alabama — included a combined stat line of 12 carries for 22 yards. His crucial fumble at the goal line in overtime against Pitt nearly cost the Irish the game. Add to that some off-field worries after being suspended for the season’s first two games for a violation of team rules, and a fifth year in Notre Dame’s backfield could have given Wood another chance to boost his stock with a big season. Yet Wood’s decision to leave, a decision largely influenced by his young daughter, will open up the Irish backfield this spring.

With Wood and Riddick both departing, the Irish will have to replace the majority of their carries. Yet with George Atkinson and Cam McDaniel both looking very good this season, Will Mahone and Amir Carlisle preserving a year of eligibility, and blue-chip recruits Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston on their way in, there won’t be a shortage of candidates to replace them.

Wood exits Notre Dame with a career stat line of 450 carries for 2,447 yards, a healthy 5.4 yards a carry. He added 16 rushing touchdowns and two receiving. His career best game came at Purdue in 2011, where Wood ran for 191 yards on 20 carries.

  1. bernhtp - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    I wish Cierre the best of luck.

    Keith: No mention of Amir Carlisle. Is this merely an oversight or are you signalling something?

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      bern, it seems you’re suggesting that Keith’s doing something my wife does; trying to say something without actually saying something. for example, “the grass is so long…” or “boy, there sure are lots of leaves on the ground…”

      for keith’s part, i’m confident it was just an oversight and nothing more. nobody likes passive aggressive sportswriting.

      tough for wood, i wish he had been able to leave on more of an upward trajectory. my money is on him having a nice career somewhere.

    • Keith Arnold - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Oversight. My bad.

    • papadec - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      bern – check the 2nd to last paragraph.

      • bernhtp - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:08 AM

        Keith edited the article and added the mention of Amir in response to my comment. He does pay attention.

  2. kiopta1 - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Good luck Cierre. It’s been fun watching you.

  3. kiopta1 - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    I really like our stable of RBs some may lack XP but still tons of talent there (includes incoming freshman).

  4. dickasman - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Good luck to both of them, assuming they weren’t the ones that was involved in Seebert case. I have always suspected these two. Otherwise, may you end up at dingleberry car wash.

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Seebert case? There was no case. Investigated, found lacking of wrongdoing, closed. Move on.

    • chicagoirish23 - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Do you make ignorant comments because you are ignorant or you just like to be an internet troll?

      • dickasman - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:39 AM

        Just like priests don’t rape altar boys, right? Morons.

    • danirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM

      I’m sorry, I missed something – what is the Seebrt case?

      • bernhtp - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:25 PM

        It’s the sad case of a troubled St. Mary’s freshman named Lizzy Seeberg who reported a sexual assault (touched her breast) by an ND football player and then she committed suicide nine days later. Apparently witness accounts were contradictory and she tragically was dead. Thus no charges were ever filed and the identity of the accused was never made public.

        This case is frequently brought up to demonize Notre Dame along with the Declan Sullivan death. There is a spectrum of views on Lizzy’s case. I’ll share two:

        http://jezebel.com/5696455/student-commits-suicide-after-alleged-sexual-assault-by-notre-dame-football-player

        http://falserapesociety.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/notre-dame-player-wont-be-charged-for.html

  5. dickasman - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    To me, they re both 4-6 round picks but it will depend on their 40 yd dash.

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      Thanks for that insightful NFL talent evaluation. Which team do you work for?

    • gtizzo - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      You think the 4-6 that would be good thing. Alfred Morris came out of the sixth round. Some guy named Ariian Foster wasn’t drafted at all. Don’t doubt late round picks, those guys end up being hidden gems. Wood is going to be a hidden gem in this draft he can do it all.

  6. fnc111 - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Smart kid. Get some money and leaving the sinking ship that is a Brian Kelly led team. Mark my words ND will be searching for a new coach in 1-2 years. Should’ve moved on Saturday. Urban, Hoke, Saban an co. will own Kelly on the recruiting trail because of his affair last week with the nfl.

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      I’m pretty sure that kids whose most basic desire is to get into the NFL will understand why a coach might be interested in the NFL as well. You act like Kelly was the first college coach to entertain thoughts of moving to the league. Kelly has proven he’s an unbelievable recruiter. Thats not about to change just because your little world was rocked.

    • keelio19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      We went 8-5 the last two seasons and we’re still out-recruiting Urban, Hoke and Saban. Oh yeah, Urban has the greatest track record of sticking around too, vailid point though fnc. You get your info from Dickboy?

  7. keelio19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    GL WOOD

    Yeah Keith, no mention of Carlisle, who IMHO will more than likely be the lead to start in the backfield this upcoming season. GAIII was a disappointment this season, even though he had a great spring game and looked like he was going to just fly by players. Which he has those abilities to, but is still very raw at the RB position and just doesn’t seem to make the right cuts and or angles, and is way to upright for a RB. Cam, I think he will always be that back that comes in for mop-up duties, very hard worker just doesn’t have the size, strength or speed, in comparison to the rest of the depth chart, though his toughness and work ethic will really push our other backs to be that much better. Amir I think comes in and just lights it up in the backfield, my big sell with Amir is the fact that he actually has some college playing time under his belt at USC and got a very large number of carries for being a true freshmen, and we all know, USC can recruit and develop some very good RB’s. So for him to have made it into the lineup his freshmen year at USC is very promising. His biggest hurdle is going to be whether he is actually at 100% or not from that ankle injury. All the reports I’ve read, is that his nerve damage healed like it should have and he very well could have seen some time in the backfield this season but there was really no reason to bring in a 3rd back when we were struggling getting touches to Wood and Theo. I think if Bryant or Folston are to see any playing time next season their really going to have to come out and perform their first few spring practices. I really see Mahone being the perfect complement to Amir, Amir is the complete back who has the shiftiness and speed that Theo and Wood had separately, and Mahone will be our ‘punch you in the mouth’ sort of back. He isn’t HUGE but definitely our biggest back, and with a year under Longo, he could be even bigger by spring time.

    It’s very heartwarming to see that even ND fans can be as ignorant as some of the trolls. The Seebert case is over and done with, her parents have moved on, why haven’t you dickboy? I understand people not agreeing with eachother, or having a difference of opinion, but for a$$bags like you Dickboy, there’s no excuse. And your assumption of these two being involved is primarily based off the facts you congregate up in your little head, so your no more than the next troll that posts.

    For the rest of us,
    Keith is there a way to hit the ‘Ignore’ option like we do on spam emails when I see a post by dickboy? Please advise…

    -Yours truly, ND FANBASE

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Good post. With the exception that Folston and Bryant won’t be at spring practice. Its going to be very interesting to see how GA3 is used over the next couple of years. I’m no dickasman, but he doesn’t look like a RB.

  8. TriniND - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    So BK was 1 for 3 on 6 star recruits this year huh (LNIII, Eiffert & Wood)? So what’s the latest count on available schollies for the class then?

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:18 PM

      you are forgetting about Zach Martin. And nobody on the planet thought Eifert was coming back. Or Wood for that matter.

      • TriniND - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        You’re right… 2 for 4. Think you’re taking what I said as a slam on BK, which it wasn’t. Was simply doing a count. And whether or not they were expected to return, they’re still of the 6* variety.

      • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        You are right, that is the way I was taking it. My bad.

  9. mediocrebob - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    FNC111- I know Urban has a great history of sticking by his team.

    Here’s to his health, BC we all know that’s the reason he left Florida. I have a feeling BK will continue to do his thing. Rest your sweet little head.

  10. keelio19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Ahh Yes, Touché ibleedirish. 

    It’s too bad they weren’t EE, but the RB position isn’t as much of a concern but more of on topic in regards to this article.

    I guess your point makes it even clearer to me IMO as who the starting RB’s will be then. As you agreed, GAIII looks to have found himself in a predicament. Not sure the RB will be his position, CB he seems way to fragile (Must be Italion – Movie Quote,* High Five* for the one that guesses it) to be going out and making tackles and doesn’t have the hips to stay with WR’s. Is he just going to be a ST guy, I hope not, I’m hoping Alford spends a lot of time with him this off season, because he could really be a threat on offense if we could find a way to get him the ball. Maybe We gotta get the kid the ball early and often in the season so that teams have to gameplan for him. You can’t stop speed you can only hope to contain it, and he’s got that elite speed, we just need to find a way to use it. I’m hoping due to the large amount of injuries this year, that this wasn’t just a bad season for him on kickoffs, I know that was Kelly’s excuse, or reason, behind our PR and KR struggling so bad this year.

    Back to the Depth
    1. Amir
    2. Mahone/GAIII
    3. Cam
    4. Andrew Hendrix (Wild Cat)
    5. Bryant/Foltston (Possible RS baring any injuries to the top 3)

    Amir seems to me as the ideal starter, though you just never know, I think were lucky enough that it’s the RB position that is up in the air this year and not so heavily on the QB position which obviously plays a more significant role in our offense than our RB. Speaking of QB, another interesting battle will unfold this summer with obviously Golson leading the way, Tommy still BK’s guy, and Gunner obviously going to be making some noise, as well as Malik who I know is an EE, haha. I think the fact that Tommy, Gunner and Malik breathing down Golsons neck to get better, Golson could have an amazing season. I think it’s also an interesting to know that Gunner is the fastest QB out of the group, now speed and elusiveness are two different things, and obviously Golson does an amazing job of eluding tackles and buying more time, but there were times he was running in the open field and I felt like he just was barely getting away from guys. I think I would rather have an elusive/quick QB than a fast but stiff QB. Not saying that’s how Gunner is, he very well could be just as quick and elusive, time will tell.

    • andy44teg - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      A Christmas Story! NEXT!!!

      • andy44teg - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Hell, who knows if Hendrix will even be @ QB next year??…how many can a team have on scholly anyway?…So we’ll have Golson, Rees, Hendrix, Gunner, and Malik all on scholarship…Doesn’t make much sense to me. Somethings gotta give, here. I’m more and more in nudie’s camp here. Move him to D, or even receiver. 5 qb’s on scholarship is too many, IMHO.

      • keelio19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        **High Five**

        Very Nice Andy, was probably too soon to the holidays to be quoting xmas movies and not expect someone to know it.

        Yeah it will be interesting to see what Hendrix does, I didn’t think about the 5 scholarship players at QB, it very well good be Hendrix. We all know Tommy is like having another coach within the QB’s so he’s not going anywhere and plus BK loves tommy. Hendrix seems to be the easy answer, but what can you do with him with only one year to go. You just going to throw him to the wolves and place him on scout team? You know it may not be his ideal spot, but why not put him in at the Gunner position on special teams. Coach the sh1t out of him on blocking and or holding blocks and maybe Neal could actually catch a punt without having to fair catch it. I’m sure he’s probably too slow for that, but maybe throw him along the line, we gotta use the kids talents somehow, he’s a big strong specimens, it’s just too bad he didn’t pan out as a qB he could have been what we were hoping for in Dayne. Either way as stated earlier, this is not a bad thing but a good thing when you have too many good players at one position, I’d rather have options than be limited between Tommy and Hendrix as the only option.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:45 AM

        “aaahhhh, fra-jeee-lay…must be italian.” great reference.

        i’d love to see GAIII play safety. sure, “the cup runneth over” at safety, but if GAIII was a hitter and even added another 10-15 pounds, imagine him breaking on the ball and either laying the lumber on receivers, or just getting 10 picks. either result would be great.

        you are spot on about speed; there is nothing else like it. back in holtz’s days, the saying was “speed kills.” i don’t care where GAIII lines up, but i want him on the field for lots of snaps next year doing something.

  11. mungman69 - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Go for the money. I can’t blame him. He probably wasn’t learning anything in college anyway.

    • ibleedirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      He already has his degree.

  12. dutch31 - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Folston looked good on defense, in whatever all-star game it was that I saw him in. Had a interception, where he broke on the ball and undercut the route. Got to believe he will be a defensive player.

    Best of luck to Wood and Theo!!

    Go Irish.

  13. c4evr - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Quick recap under BK. 2010 -too early to tell first year. 2011 -high expectations, team underachieved. 2012 – lower expectations due to schedule, team way overachieved for 12 of the 13 games. 2013 -high expectations (from what I gather by posters here), will have to wait 11 months for results. Meanwhile Kelly flirts with NFL, if CW were on the fence about declaring, BK’s antics helped in making his decision. BTW, I am a little uncomfortable with all the BK bashing of late… I feel it was one area where I felt I had a corner on the market.

    • andy44teg - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      CW was going pro regardless of what happened w/ BK..c’mon, c4! He’s already got his degree, has a 1 year old daughter, saw diminished PT this year from being in the dog house all year long, and there’s a ton of talent coming up behind him. This was the biggest no-brainer to go pro I’ve ever seen.

  14. ndnapa - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    I think G. Atkinson is a WR. Have him and Brown run deep patterns all day and mostly throw underneath and crossing patterns to Daniels and Neal. Then you have gamebreakers all over the field. Add Carlisle out of the backfield to Hercules,and Golson will have all kinds of optionsI think Neal will be most improved player next year, though.

    I would also like to see a short yardage set featuring 3 TEs and Mahone.

    • bernhtp - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      GA3 was originally projected to be a WR, but was moved to RB. I haven’t seen evidence of great hands.

      • ndirish10 - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM

        Haven’t seen great evidence of running back skills either from GAIII, other than your occasional burst through a huge whole and off to the races. No cutback ability, no break your ankle moves. Every time he touches the ball you know exactly where he is going because he runs extremely upright. Great for kickoff returns when return team blocks. ndnapa maybe on to something, send him on a streak ans a WR which, depending on the defense, may clear one-two defensive opponents, throw underneath to TJ and Daniels (both great receivers). Who knows, maybe GAIII and Brown could be deep throw threats.

  15. c4evr - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    First Eifert, then Anzalone, now Wood… Letting the greener pastures of the NFL distract him. All the while drawing the ire of ND nation. This guy will and should get very little slack going forward. And in his own inimitable, immutable words, he’d better “Get used to it.”

    • andy44teg - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      @c4evr

      I think it’s safe to say that both Eifert and Wood were going pro no matter what. Anzalone was going to UF no matter what. You show me something that happened that was just a HUGE SURPRISE and I’ll give you some credence. B/c so far we haven’t had any decommits other than AA, and we haven’t had anyone declare for the NFL that wasn’t expected to.

    • danirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Oh be quiet.

      • c4evr - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        That’s right, this is the board where we quietly sweep things under the rug and hope they go away. Like the fact that BK was prepping his team for the title game as well as prepping for his big NFL interview. He may have done this as a ploy, but it was bad form to let himself be distracted in the week leading up to the ‘Bama game. And that distraction showed in his team’s performance. Oh, but that’s right, the poster’s here are so giddy at the 12 – 1 in the ledger that they’re content to dismiss BK’s lack of character and his poor judgment. The ‘get use to it’ attitude, stupid play calling year #1 costing a win against a nobody team, ‘not my guys’ after the USC debacle in ’11, you’d think he’d have learned by now. But, during national championship week, he is thinking abount interviewing for the NFL??? Kelly’s time at ND does not end well…expect more of the same. But, I’m pretty sure if we’re all quiet about it, it’ll correct itself.

      • andy44teg - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:09 PM

        So…which is is, c4? You want BK’s head on a platter for 1 dumb play call back in ’10, or paying lip service to the eagles right before the NC. (which is really what i think it was) Or do you want him canned for hauling in back to back top 10 recruiting classes and taking ND somewhere they haven’t been in 24 years all the while having the #1 GSR in the country as well??? You need to pick your poison, man! Let’s just get Bob Davie back, would that make you happy?…or do you have someone out there that hasn’t already been offered the ND HC position that hasn’t turned it down ( i.e. Urban, Gruden, Coughlin, Stoops) B/c if you can’t come up with someone better, then pipe the F@#K down! I know nudeman likes to bitch about things here, but at least he has valid arguments. You just sound like a whiny teenage chick looking for something and anything to bitch about….

      • ibleedirish - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

        c4evr has the tone of someone who generally sucks at most aspects of life and insists on bringing anyone he can down with him. These type of people despise success in all its forms and predict calamity for years and then delight when they’re finally right by default. It’d be ever so nice if they’d stfu until then though. Anyone who complains about a 12-1 season and great recruiting classes after where we’ve been can’t be helped.

  16. mountunionirish51 - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Would slaughter not be considered a 6 star recruit if he is granted a sixth year? Any idea when that news will come?

  17. danirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Good luck to you Wood! If you could teach GAIII to shift and juke before you leave we’d appreciate it!

    I’d love to see a lot of McDaniela nd Carlisle next year and maybe break in a super freshman!

    Go Irish!

  18. danirish - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    GA III to WR? Just throwing that out there….

    • yogihilt - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:07 AM

      The Raider approach of the 70’s 80’s, throw 4 bombs a game, and the world opens up underneath. Geo 3 stix is not a running back.. his stick like approach to runnning does not work past high school.. but as a WR.. wow,. . fly patterns become a serious issue to cover. But usually guys like that have rock hands also.. but worth a flyer.

  19. northerndomer20 - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    “Will Mahone and Amir Carlisle preserving a year of eligibility, and blue-chip recruits Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston on their way in”……Carlisle is mentioned

  20. idratherbeinsouthbend - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    FYI, Notre Dame just got back into the recruiting mix with four-star Defensive End Kylie Fitts. He just got his scholarship deferred by the morally deficient head coach at USC. Here’s the story…

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/recruit-decommits-usc-lane-kiffin-pulls-scholarship-three-165651928–ncaaf.html

    • papadec - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:31 AM

      idrather – good article. Also a good article @ IrishSportsDaily. I would guess that he can’t get registered at most colleges, including ND, this week. I suppose he could stay at his HS and take AP college level courses, OR enroll @ a JC to take some classes. It looks to me that usc recruiters will be personas non gratis @ his HS.

  21. keelio19 - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Haha northerndomer.

    In the initial article posted way before 7:24pm he had left that part out. After a couple posters noted, KA came on and acknowledged it and added him into the article. (See the 3rd post from the top)

    • papadec - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      keelio – ha ha ha, thanks for the explanation – sneaky Keith caught me on the back fill also.

  22. 9irish - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:41 AM

    This whole past week reminds me of something that actually happened to me in my old beat up Mustang about 15 years ago….going down 315 in Columbus at about 65 and the hood flew up and smacked the roof of the car. My buddy and I just looked at each other and screamed “AHHHHHHH!” (just like Tommy Boy).

    You have to rely on rear and sideview mirrors sometimes.

    Go Irish

    • papadec - Jan 15, 2013 at 12:57 AM

      9irish – uh-oh – that reminds me of heading to Fall River, MA from Boston in my big engine ’68 GTO, circa 1972, at a speed exceeding good sense & the posted speed limit, in the rain. Hydroplaning resulted in a few 360s and going backwards. So yeah, this past week was like going around in circles. Good Grief!!!!!!!! That was 40 years ago.

      • 9irish - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:15 AM

        Yep. That’s my analogy, cruising down the road on a nice day, then the hood flies up and you can’t see a damned thing. It was all my buddy’s fault, btw.

  23. papadec - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    9irish – funny how that works – it was my frat roommates fault. He distracted me by suggesting we slow down.

    • 9irish - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:23 AM

      Ha! Damned rear wheel drive cars…I beat the hell out of that first Mustang, spinning sideways all the time

  24. mungman69 - Jan 15, 2013 at 4:42 AM

    The Irish are deep. When kids see that Notre Dame is developing NFL players more will show up. Not a problem.

  25. ibleedirish - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    A week after the national championship and I already find myself looking over the schedule for 2013. Being a longtime ND fan tends to mean that by the end of the season I’m usually harboring a certain level of disgust, and I’m ready for a long break from Irish football. One of the most enjoyable seasons to watch in my lifetime means its going to be a really long offseason looking for any news I can find. I already can’t wait for signing day and the spring game. I’m thinking about making the trip to campus to check out the spring game in person. Winning seasons are great!

    Did anyone else see the comments from Wood? Pretty effusive in his thanks to Coaches Kelly and Alford. I’m probably reading too much into it, but anyone else find it interesting that there wasn’t one mention of Coach Martin? I just can’t shake the feeling that there is a lot more than we’ve heard to the Cierre Wood saga this season.

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