Northwestern Wildcats running back Venric Mark had a breakout season in 2012. He was a major part of Northwestern’s success, helping the Wildcats to a 10-win season, including a 34-20 victory in the Gator Bowl.
Big things could be in store for him this season, including even the Heisman Trophy.
As a junior last year, he finished fifth in the Big Ten Conference with 1,371 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. He ranked fifth in the Big Ten and 26th nationally, averaging 105.1 rushing yards per game.
Mark garnered national attention last year, being named as one of 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top rusher. He also earned All-Big Ten second team honors.
Aside from his ability as a running back, Mark is also a dangerous weapon on special teams.
He led the conference and was 12th in the country with 2,171 all-purpose yards and had two punt returns for touchdowns. Mark was named a first team All-American as a punt returner.
Northwestern struggled to throw the ball a year ago, averaging just 169.5 yards per game, ranking ninth in the Big Ten. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald ran a two-quarterback system, using both Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter. Neither passer was very effective, meaning the Wildcats were reliant on the running game to be successful.
Though Colter is a valuable weapon in the running game, Mark is the main man out of the Northwestern backfield.
Mark is a fantastic talent who will look to build on his amazing 2012 season. As a senior, he will once again be a key contributor to the Wildcats on both offense and special teams.
Don’t be surprised to hear his name mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate throughout the season.