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Venric Mark transferring from Northwestern to West Texas A&M


One of the more surprising developments of training camp was the decision by running back Venric Mark to transfer from Northwestern just a few weeks before the Wildcats were set to open their 2014 campaign.

On Saturday, Mark let the world in on where he's headed: West Texas A&M, a Division II school not too far from his hometown.

Options like Baylor, Texas Tech and Houston were on the table for the former Big Ten star, but he would have to have put in a request to the NCAA for a waiver to play right away, and it was far from a sure thing that the waiver would be granted.

"It was such an unknown," Mark told the Chicago Tribune. "Do I forfeit a year and not play? Or do I find a school that puts people in the league? More people are in the NFL from West Texas A&M than Northwestern."

The opportunity to play in 2014 with an eye toward the 2015 NFL Draft seemed to factor into Mark's decision. He burst onto the scene in 2012 when he rushed for 1,366 yards and was selected as an All-American punt returner. He suffered a season-ending injury just three games into the 2013 campaign, though.

"Northwestern has been an indescribable experience for me," Mark said in a statement earlier this month. "It has been my home for four years, and it 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."

Mark told the Tribune that his two-game suspension did not have a significant impact on his decision to transfer and that he was not suspended for a failed drug test, as had been rumored. Mark told the Tribune that his grandmother is ill and his mother is also going through some issues back in the Houston area.

With Mark out of the picture, senior Treyvon Green will likely get the first snaps at tailback when Northwestern opens the season against California on Aug. 30.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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