Northwestern’s offense suffered a major setback on Wednesday, as running back Venric Mark decided he would transfer from the program, and receiver Christian Jones was ruled out for the year due to a knee injury.
Mark was one of the Big Ten’s most explosive playmakers in 2012, rushing for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns and was a key weapon on special teams.
The senior plans to transfer to a school closer to his home in Texas.
With Mark out of the picture, expect senior Trevyon Green to handle the bulk of the carries, with Warren Long and Stephen Buckley providing depth.
Jones led Northwestern with 668 receiving yards last season and was slated to push for All-Big Ten honors in 2014.
While losing Jones is a big blow to the receiving corps, the offense does have experienced options on the depth chart. Junior Miles Shuler is a key transfer from Rutgers, and senior Kyle Prater was a top recruit coming out of high school. Senior Tony Jones and junior Cam Dickerson also return after combining for 66 catches in 2013.
Northwestern is a popular sleeper pick to watch in the Big Ten West Division in 2014, but the Wildcats will definitely miss Mark and Jones this season.