Northwestern RB Venric Mark receives fifth season of eligibility

Venric Mark rushed for 1,366 yards in 2012. (USATSI)
Venric Mark rushed for 1,366 yards in 2012 (USATSI)
One of the most dynamic players of college football's 2012 season will be back for its 2014 season.

Northwestern announced Tuesday that running back Venric Mark's medical hardship waiver has been approved and the senior from Texas has been granted a fifth season of eligiblity by the Big Ten. Mark appeared in only three games of an injury-marred 2013 season, rushing for a total of 97 yards only a year after rushing for 1,366 and earning All-American honors as a punt returner.

The Wildcats announced in mid-November that Mark's season was done thanks to a broken ankle suffered in the Oct. 12 game against Wisconsin, and that he would be applying for a fifth year of eligiblity. Mark's absence played a major role in Northwestern's seven-game losing streak after a 4-0 start, one that cost the program its sixth straight bowl appearance.

The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Mark is already the school's record holder in career kickoff return yardage and is exactly 1,000 yards shy of the school career mark in all-purposes yardage as well. If Mark -- and the Wildcats as a whole -- can return to anything like their 2012 form, it's a good bet that record as well will belong to Mark by the time 2014 is complete.

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