The only player from a Big Ten school to be honored in the 26-man group, Northwestern junior tailback Venric Mark was named to the Football Writers Association of America's All-American team on Friday, reported by Jack McCarthy of CSNChicago.com.
The 5'8, 175-pound Mark was a playmaker both offensively and on special teams this year for the Wildcats, and finished with the nation's best punt return average at 20.1 yards per attempt. Along with becoming the first Northwestern player since 1949 to take a punt back to the house twice in a season, Mark chipped in 1,310 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground to also bring home second team All-Big Ten honor as a tailback.
The first Northwestern player to receive an All-America distinction since Zach Strief in 2005, Mark is poised to be one of the nation's most explosive dual-threat return men next season. Mark's Wildcats will square off with Mississippi State on New Year's Day in the Gator Bowl to close out their 2012-13 campaign, and it's a safe bet that Mark's speed in the open field could have a significant impact on the end result.