Mark announced last week he was leaving Northwestern. He was going to be suspended for part of this season for violating rules. He cited health issues involving his mother and grandmother as reasons why he left Northwestern to be closer to home. "I will get my Northwestern degree," Mark said. "There is no bad blood with Northwestern at all. Me and Coach Fitz (Pat Fitzgerald) still talk. We are still family." Mark missed much of last season with leg injuries but was granted an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA. He ran for 1,366 yards with 12 touchdowns and returned to punts for touchdowns in 2012. Mark, who hopes to play in the NFL next season, already started practicing at West Texas A&M. - The Sports Xchange
08/13/2014 - Northwestern running back Venric Mark, who was recently suspended for the first two games of the season, will transfer and wide receiver Christian Jones will miss the season with a knee injury. Northwestern says Mark wants to play closer to his family. Mark, who is from near Houston, missed most of last season with a broken ankle and was granted another year of eligibility. "Northwestern has been an indescribable experience for me," Mark said in a statement. "It has been my home for four years, and has molded me into the man I am. I'm one class shy of the Northwestern degree I've worked so hard for, and I will graduate. I'm devastated to leave my second home, but life is full of challenges and I've been presented with another one. Right now this is what is best for me and my family."
As a junior in 2012, he ran for 1,366 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. He ranks fourth all-time at Northwestern with 4,271 all-purpose yards. Mark was suspended last week for the first two games of the season for an unspecified violation of team rules. "Today is a difficult day for our football family and, most importantly, for Venric," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "We love him, and there is no doubt that we're going to miss him as both a person and player. But this is unquestionably what is best for Venric and those closest to him." - AP Sports
08/13/2014 - Northwestern RB Mark to transfer...Northwestern running back Venric Mark, suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules, is transferring, the school announced Wednesday night. Northwestern also confirmed that wide receiver Christian Jones will miss the 2014 season after suffering a knee injury in practice. Personal reasons were cited for Mark's transfer. According to the school, the redshirt senior wants to play closer to home. Mark is from Texas, but there is no indication where he might land next. "Today is a difficult day for our football family and, most importantly, for Venric," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "We love him, and there is no doubt that we're going to miss him as both a person and player. But this is unquestionably what is best for Venric and those closest to him."
Just last week, Mark said, "Does it hurt? Yeah, it hurts really bad," Mark said. "But there's no point in pouting. I'm going to embrace it" Mark was injured for much of last season and played in only three games. In 2012, Mark contributed 2,166 all-purpose yards and 15 touchdowns as a running back and returner. Senior Treyvon Green will take over as the starting running back. He rushed for 736 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Jones was the Wilcats' leading receiver last year with 54 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns. - The Sports Xchange
08/09/2014 - 2014 PRESEASON PAUL HORNUNG AWARD WATCH LIST: Venric Mark, Northwestern...Started every game at running back in 2012 ... A consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection at running back ... Named one of 10 national semifinalists for Doak Walker Award, presented to nation's top running back ... Named NU's Offensive MVP ... Named to preseason watch list for Paul Hornung Award - presented to the nation's most versatile player - and three times during the year was named to award's weekly honor roll ... Became Northwestern's first 1,000-yard rusher since Tyrell Sutton in 2006, recording 15th 1,000-yard rushing season in NU history. - Northwestern football
08/09/2014 - 2014 PRESEASON MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: Venric Mark, Northwestern, Running Back, Senior...Played in only three games in 2013 because of injury ... Started season-opener at Cal before missing remainder of the nonconference season with a lower body injury Returned to action against Ohio State and picked up a career-high 43 receiving yards against the Buckeyes ... Returned one kickoff for 68 yards against OSU. - Northwestern football
08/08/2014 - Northwestern's NFL Draft-Eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. RB Venric Mark, RS Senior...Mark has the long-speed to run away from defenders and it won't be a surprise to see him put on a show at the NFL Combine next February. The biggest question mark is durability and at 5-7 and 175 pounds, his lack of size and growth potential makes it tough to project his future role in the NFL. Pro scouts know he is athletic and has speed to burn, but a full, healthy season in 2014 will be the biggest way for Mark to show NFL evaluators that he has legitimate next level potential despite his smallish frame. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
08/08/2014 - Northwestern has suspended running back Venric Mark for the first two games for violating a team policy. The school said Friday that Mark will miss home games against California on Aug. 30 and Northern Illinois on Sept. 6. Mark was granted a medical hardship waiver by the Big Ten and allowed to return for a fifth year after missing most of last season with a broken ankle. He was limited to three games in 2013 after rushing for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior. He ranks fourth all-time at Northwestern with 4,271 all-purpose yards. In a statement, Mark says he ''made a mistake'' and ''let my teammates down.'' - AP Sports
08/08/2014 - Northwestern's NFL Draft-Eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. RB Venric Mark, RS Senior...An energetic jitterbug on the football field, Mark will return to Evanston for one more season of eligibility after he was granted a medical hardship waiver due to his 2013 injuries. He was limited by a hamstring injury to begin last season and suffered a broken ankle soon after returning to the field, playing in only three games in 2013. Mark started every game at running back in 2012 and led the team in rushing as a junior with 1,366 yards on 226 carries, earning the offensive MVP honors for the Wildcats. Some scouts view him as a receiver while others prefer to keep him at running back, but regardless, Mark is an exciting all-purpose weapon with the ball. He has light, explosive speed to fluidly change directions and make decisive cuts in the open field. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
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 - 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
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