Venric Mark has been granted a fifth year of eligibility. (David Banks/Getty Images)
Northwestern running back Venric Mark will return for a fifth season after the Big Ten accepted his medical hardship waiver application, the school announced Tuesday.
Mark was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America in 2012 after a stellar junior year, but he only played in three games this past season after sustaining multiple injuries before and during the year.
In 2012, Mark rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns, helping the Wildcats to a 10-win season and obtaining a place on the All-Big Ten second team. Mark also returned two punts for touchdowns that season.
Mark played a very limited role in 2013, appearing sporadically in contests against Cal, Ohio State and Wisconsin. He did not play after Northwestern's Oct. 12 game at Wisconsin.
After starting the season 4-0 and climbing to No. 16 in the AP poll, Northwestern finished the year 5-7 and failed to make a bowl game for the first time since the 2007 season. Northwestern's offensive production suffered in Mark's absence, as the Wildcats scored 26.2 points per game in 2013, down from 31.7 points per game the previous year.