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Notre Dame running back Atkinson enters NFL draft

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TOM COYNE | January 8, 2014 05:17 PM EST | AP


SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

Atkinson's father, former Oakland Raiders great George Atkinson Jr., said in a telephone interview Wednesday that his son wanted a chance to play in the NFL. Atkinson said his son was told by the NFL draft advisory board he likely would be selected after the third round.

Atkinson started the season listed as Notre Dame's starting back, but finished second in yards and carries with 555 yards on 93 attempts, but saw his carries diminish as the season wore on. Atkinson was suspended from playing in the Pinstripe Bowl for violating an unspecified team rule. He tweeted he was suspended for texting friends and family during a team meal.