2015 NFL DRAFT

Venric Mark, RB

School: Northwestern  |  Conference: BIG10
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Tomball, TX
Height/Weight: 5-7 / 175 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
99915-
Player News
04/25/2014 - Northwestern players vote on union...Northwestern football players cast secret ballots Friday on whether to unionize, an unprecedented event in collegiate athletics. It may take several weeks, months or even years before the results are known. The ballot boxes will be sealed as the university legally appeals the team's unionization effort. The National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to allow Northwestern's appeal of a regional director's March ruling that players are employees and can form a union. The ballots will be sealed until the appeal process is finalized. A long court battled could ensue after that.

Supporters say unionizing would help college athletes receive improved compensation and medical care for injuries, among other benefits. "You got to give the people what they want!" one player shouted at reporters, who were forced to keep a distance during the voting, according the Associated Press. The NLRB ruling only applies to private universities but it was viewed as a step toward the end of traditional student athletics. The NCAA, Northwestern and many college athletic departments, nationally, have been critical of the unionization effort. Northwestern's 76 football players under scholarship were eligible to vote. - The Sports Xchange

01/21/2014 - Venric Mark Granted Fifth Year of Eligibility by Big Ten...2012 All-American saw senior season cut short by injury...Northwestern announced Tuesday that running back Venric Mark's application for a medical hardship waiver has been approved by the Big Ten Conference, rendering Mark eligible to return for a fifth season with the Wildcats in 2014. An All-American punt returner and 1,000-yard rusher in 2012, Mark saw limited action in three games last fall while battling multiple injuries. He played for the final time in Northwestern's Oct. 12 game at Wisconsin, leaving the game in the first quarter with a fractured ankle that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Mark, who played as a true freshman upon arriving in Evanston in 2010, rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior en route to second-team All-Big Ten honors. He ranks fourth all-time at Northwestern with 4,271 all-purpose yards, exactly 1,000 behind NU career leader Damien Anderson (5,271, 1998-2001). - Northwestern football

11/11/2013 - Northwestern's Venric Mark out for season with broken ankle...An All-American in 2012, Venric Mark won't be returning to help Northwestern battle for bowl eligibility in 2013, Pat Fitzgerald confirmed Monday. Fitzgerald said that Mark is recovering from a broken ankle and "will not be returning to participation this season." The senior running back and all-purpose weapon has played in only three games this season and has only 97 rushing yards, after running for 1,366 in 2012 and earning All-American honors as a punt returner.

The news doesn't come as a surprise. Fitzgerald has publicly discussed Mark's chances of receiving a medical hardship waiver and extra year of eligibility from the NCAA, saying, per te Chicago Tribune, he had "talked to Mark about all the different variables." But if the Wildcats won't be shocked by Fitzgerald's announcement, it also won't do anything to help them salvage their five-year streak of bowl appearances. After a 4-0 start, Northwestern has lost five straight, all in Big Ten play, and needs to win two of their remaining three games -- at home against Michigan and Michigan State, and at Illinois -- in order to reach bowl eligibility.

That's not the scenario Fitzgerald and the 'Cats had laid out at the beginning of the season -- and Mark's struggles to be healthy have been a huge part of that. If there's any silver lining, it's that his potential return in 2014 might help make that campaign the Legends Division challenger 2013 was supposed to be. - Jerry Hinnen, CBSSports.com

10/21/2013 - Northwestern's Venric Mark out, Kain Colter day-to-day...Northwestern's offense struggled during its 20-17 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, as it was without its two biggest playmakers in running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they'll have to make due without Mark again this week, and possibly Colter too. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald announced on Monday that Venric Mark will not play against Iowa this week.

Mark suffered an ankle injury during the first quarter of Northwestern's loss against Wisconsin two weeks ago. As for Colter, he's dealing with an ankle injury of his own, but Fitzgerald called him "day-to-day." While being without Mark is a blow to the offense, it's not a situation the Wildcats aren't accustomed to this year. Mark has appeared in only three games and has only 183 all-purpose yards and no touchdowns. Last season Mark finished with 2,166 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.

So even without Mark, getting Colter back would be a big boost for a Northwestern team that finds itself in a bit of a free fall. Since starting out the season 4-0 and hosting ESPN's Game Day, the Wildcats have now lost three straight games, all of which were conference games. Suddenly a Northwestern team that had Rose Bowl hopes only a few weeks ago could find itself struggling to simply reach a bowl game. - Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com

10/08/2013 - 2014 NFL DRAFT WEEK 6 STOCK REPORT, NFL PROSPECTS WHO HELPED THEMSELVES: RB Venric Mark, Northwestern...While Hyde and the Buckeyes went home with the victory, it was a productive outing for Mark who returned to the field after missing the previous three games due to a leg injury. He is easily the Wildcats' most valuable player for his ability as a running back, receiver and return man on special teams. Against Ohio State, Mark showed terrific acceleration out of his cuts to scamper through arm tackles towards daylight at the second level.

He is very shifty between the tackles, doesn't run hesitant and wastes little time getting north-south downfield. Mark has a smallish frame at 5-8 and 175 pounds with little growth potential, but he isn't afraid to lower his pads and deliver a pop at the point of attack. He lines up at running back and wide receiver and is a versatile offensive weapon who doesn't have a true NFL position, but has skills that translate to the NFL level. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

10/01/2013 - Venric Mark (leg) will play for Northwestern against Ohio State...Northwestern got a huge boost heading into their primetime matchup with Ohio State, getting All-American return man and running back Venric Mark back at practice this week. "It's a heck of a free-agent pickup," Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said Tuesday. "You get an All-American back four games into the season." Mark missed the past three games with a leg injury, but participated fully in Tuesday's practice. While the Wildcats' most dangerous offensive threat played in the season opener against Cal, the injury was sustained early in preseason camp. "I feel good now," Mark told ESPN.com. "I'm just ready to help the team. I've been itching to get back on the field. I feel like a spectator a little bit. I'm not really used to that at all."

Mark ran for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012, giving opposing defenses a nightmare scenario having to face the running back and dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter in the same backfield. The senior holds school records for single-game, single-season, and career kickoff return yards, but last season marked his emergence as a central piece of the Wildcats' offensive attack. With Northwestern ranked No. 16 in the nation, Saturday night's game against the No. 4 Buckeyes could be considered the biggest stage for the program under Pat Fitzgerald. With both teams getting their stars healthy in time for the game -- Braxton Miller made his debut from injury last week against Wisconsin, everything is set this Big Ten heavyweight battle in Evanston. - Chip Patterson, CBSSports.com

09/07/2013 - Quarterback Kain Colter is starting at quarterback for No. 19 Northwestern against Syracuse on Saturday, but star running back Venric Mark is not playing. Colter was questionable after suffering a concussion early in last week's season-opening win at California, forcing Trevor Siemian to carry the load. The two usually split time. Mark is out with a lower body injury. - AP Sports

09/06/2013 - Wildcats limp into second game...Another week, another mystery for Northwestern. The No. 19 Wildcats (1-0) open their home season Saturday against a Syracuse team with a new coaching staff and just one game's worth of video to try to draw some conclusions and chart a game plan. "Like we had last week (we're facing) a new staff, new coordinators and one game of empirical data, not a lot to hang your hat on," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "But I'm very impressed with the way they played (against Penn State). They played tough defense, physical on offense, they're very well coached fundamentally and they're going to present a lot more challenges."

Fitzgerald improved to 8-0 in season openers with the 44-30 victory at Cal, but his team was also banged up and lost at least one starter for the season. CB Daniel Jones suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament. QB Kain Colter was listed as day-to-day after reportedly suffering a concussion while TB Venric Mark played sparingly last week due to a "lower extremity" injury and is also day-to-day. Fitzgerald took exception to accusations that the Wildcats were faking injuries. "If anyone were to question the integrity of myself, our program, or our players, I question theirs," he said. "If our guys get dinged up, they're instructed to go down ... not hobble off to the sideline." - The Sports Xchange

09/06/2013 - TB Venric Mark, a returning All-America punt returner, suffered what was described as a "lower extremity" injury and is also listed as day-to-day. He did not play on special teams but did appear in the fourth quarter. - The Sports Xchange

08/14/2013 - 2013 JET AWARD WATCH LIST: Venric Mark Sr. Northwestern,...The Jet Award honors the best return specialist in college football. Drawing its name from former Heisman trophy winner Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers, the Jet Award will be voted on by a selection committee, featuring football writers and broadcasters from around the country, as well as Rodgers. To be considered for the Jet Award, players must be a primary kick or punt returner for his team. They must be among the national leaders in return categories and show leadership, courage, desire and respect for authority and discipline. - Johnny Rodgers Youth Foundation

08/14/2013 - TOP NORTHWESTERN PROSPECTS FOR THE 2014 NFL DRAFT: 3. RB Venric Mark (5-8, 175, 4.43)...A scatback-type, Mark led the Big Ten in all-purpose yardage last season averaging 166.6 yards per game, recording 2,166 total yards. He started his Northwestern career as a wide receiver before moving to running back last season, starting all 13 games in 2012 and finishing with a team-best 1,366 rushing yards and 12 scores. Mark has also made his mark on special teams as a return man, averaging 18.7 on punt returns last year with a pair of touchdowns.

He has a smallish frame and won't be able to add much more weight for the next level, but he has NFL speed to win the edge and out-run defenders down the sideline. Mark has the foot quickness and acceleration to dig his cleats in the ground and eat up grass in a hurry, using his agility and balance to deceive defenders. He showed signs of wearing down towards the end of last season and durability is something to watch with his undersized body type. Although he doesn't have the prototypical build to be an every-down back at the next level, Mark could be used as a complimentary weapon in the NFL who can catch passes out of the backfield and return punts and kicks. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

07/25/2013 - 2013 BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYERS TO WATCH LIST: Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern...Mark is coming off a breakout junior season in which he was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back after rushing for 1,366 yards, the sixth-best single-season total in school history. He scored 12 touchdowns out of the backfield and was named Northwestern's Offensive MVP for the 2012 season. - Northwestern football

07/20/2013 - 2013 WALTER CAMP WATCH LIST: RB Venric Mark, Northwestern...Named a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports at both running back and on special teams, Mark is coming off a breakout junior season in which he was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back after rushing for 1,366 yards, the sixth-best single-season total in school history. He scored 12 touchdowns out of the backfield and was named Northwestern's Offensive MVP for the 2012 season. - Northwestern football

07/20/2013 - 2013 DOAK WALKER AWARD WATCH LIST: Venric Mark (Sr.), Northwestern...An explosive return man, Mark averaged 18.7 yards per punt return with two runbacks for touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-American honors as a punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America. He finished just 29 yards shy of the Northwestern school record for all-purpose yards in a single season (2,166), ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten with 166.6 yards per game. - Northwestern football

07/16/2013 - 2013 PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: Venric Mark, Northwestern...Named a preseason All-American by Athlon Sports at both running back and on special teams, Mark is coming off a breakout junior season in which he was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back after rushing for 1,366 yards, the sixth-best single-season total in school history. He scored 12 touchdowns out of the backfield and was named a semifinalist for the prestigious Doak Walker Award as well as Northwestern's Offensive MVP for the 2012 season.

An explosive return man, Mark averaged 18.7 yards per punt return with two runbacks for touchdowns en route to earning first-team All-American honors as a punt returner by the Football Writers Association of America. He finished just 29 yards shy of the Northwestern school record for all-purpose yards in a single season (2,166), ranking No. 1 in the Big Ten with 166.6 yards per game. - Northwestern football

07/16/2013 - 2013 MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: RB Venric Mark, Northwestern...Mark is coming off a breakout junior season in which he was a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back after rushing for 1,366 yards, the sixth-best single-season total in school history. He scored 12 touchdowns out of the backfield and was named a semifinalist for the prestigious Doak Walker Award as well as Northwestern's Offensive MVP for the 2012 season. - Northwestern football

 
 
Player News
04/25/2014 - Northwestern players vote on union...Northwestern football players cast secret ballots Friday on whether to unionize, an unprecedented event in collegiate athletics. It may take several weeks, months or even years before the results are known. The ballot boxes will be sealed as the university legally appeals the team's unionization effort. The National Labor Relations Board agreed Thursday to allow Northwestern's appeal of a regional director's March ruling that players are employees and can form a union. The ballots will be sealed until the appeal process is finalized. A long court battled could ensue after that.

Supporters say unionizing would help college athletes receive improved compensation and medical care for injuries, among other benefits. "You got to give the people what they want!" one player shouted at reporters, who were forced to keep a distance during the voting, according the Associated Press. The NLRB ruling only applies to private universities but it was viewed as a step toward the end of traditional student athletics. The NCAA, Northwestern and many college athletic departments, nationally, have been critical of the unionization effort. Northwestern's 76 football players under scholarship were eligible to vote. - The Sports Xchange

 

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