Big Ten Football Player Watch: Venric Mark

By Scott Peceny
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that he Big Ten has been struggling over the past few years both on and off the field. The once-powerful conference has been downgraded of late, but that doesn’t mean that there is a shortage of talented players in the conference.

Sure, the Big Ten is living in the SEC’s shadow, but who isn’t? Nobody can compete with the SEC, but there are players in the Big Ten that rival even the best players in the Southeast.

One of these players is Northwestern running back Venric Mark.

The Wildcats run a high-powered run-and-gun offense that scored 31.7 points per game last year and has playmakers all over the field. Kain Colter is one of the nation’s best dual-threat quarterbacks, and the Wildcats have a slew of talented receivers.

Of all the weapons Northwestern has on offense, Mark is their most explosive and arguably most important. His 1,366 rushing yards led the Wildcats last season, helping his team become the 19th best rushing offense in the country.

Mark is not a big guy, standing just 5-foot-8 and weighing only 175 pounds. But where he lacks in size, Mark makes up for with speed and versatility. Mark can take handoffs out of the backfield, split out wide and play wide receiver, return kicks and just about everything in between. He fits Northwestern’s offense perfectly, and is poised for a monster 2013 season.

With Colter and Mark returning for their senior years, the offense should be lethal this season. Mark proved himself last year and will be heavily featured as this offense’s best playmaker.

I see no reason why Mark won’t improve in both yardage and touchdowns, a category in which he had 12 a year ago.

When all is said and done, he’ll merit consideration for both All-Big Ten and All-American in 2013.


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