The Northwestern Wildcats lost a threat at running the ball in dual threat quarterback Cain Colter but the yardage Colter had per game will surely not be missed as the Cats have star runningback Venric Mark returning for a fifth year with the team.
Mark was granted a 5th year after he missed majority of last season due to injuries such as problems with his hamstring and a fractured ankle. He was never thoroughly healthy that season as he was always come in and out of games and the locker rooms at first only to then be out and then suit up against Ohio State but still wasn’t healthy that night as well. Mark finished last season with under 100 yards for the Wildcats after having a great season the year before putting up 1,367 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The former All-American punt returner will look to have another stellar year as he is heading in to 2014-15 season 100% healthy and ready to take the Big ten by storm as the Wildcats have a few good runningbacks at their disposal. As Mark was ranked 4th in the Big Ten rankings of runningbacks, his backup in Justin Jackson will be sure to not disappoint anyone at all this season.
The 4-star RB from Glenbard North highlighted the 2013-14 Northwestern recruiting class which may very well be the best they’ve ever had. Jackson who is listed at 5’11 180 lbs was ranked 2nd in the nation in all-purpose runningbacks coming out of high school. Jackson will compliment the All-American Mark pretty well on offense as both players are small and yet have speed as well as can pound the ball right up the middle of any opponents defense.
Hopefully Venric can stay pretty healthy this season so we can really see this duo of him and Jackson, although Mark will dominantly receive most of the handoffs and plays on a more under control Northwestern offense behind QB Trevor Siemian than it was behind NU’s 2-QB system.
One thing is for sure, the Wildcats got speed.