EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — 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.”
Jones was the Wildcats’ leading receiver last season with 54 catches for 668 yards and four touchdowns. He was injured in practice on Monday.
Mark and Jones were expected to play big roles on a team trying to bounce back from a disappointing season. The Wildcats went 5-7 overall and 1-7 in Big Ten play last year after winning 10 games in 2012.
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