June 26, 2013
Athlon Sports -- Preseason All-America Teams
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With the start of preseason camp just over a week away, Northwestern landed a trio of rising seniors on Athlon Sports' 2013 All-America Teams, the publication announced Tuesday.
Earning All-America distinction at two different positions is returning All-America punt returner Venric Mark. The dynamic speedster was pegged as Athlon's first-team All-America choice at punt returner as well as a third-team selection at running back, where last season Mark racked up 1,366 ground yards and was named a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award. Mark, who led the Big Ten in 2012 with 166.6 all-purpose yards per game, also is on pace to become Northwestern's all-time leader in all-purpose yards, beginning his senior season 1,183 yards shy of the record with 4,088.
Mark joined USC's Marqise Lee and Miami (Fla.)'s Duke Johnson as the only players to receive a preseason All-America nod at multiple positions.
Another versatile Wildcat, senior quarterback Kain Colter, earned recognition as Athlon's second-team All-America all-purpose performer on offense. The Denver native boasts impressive totals as a passer (1,583 yards, 66.2 completion percentage), runner (1,691 yards) and receiver (667 yards), and last year moved into sixth all-time at Northwestern with 23 career rushing touchdowns.
Also receiving second-team All-America laurels is place-kicker and Lou Groza Award candidate Jeff Budzien
. Budzien enjoyed a stellar junior campaign in which he converted 19-of-20 field goals and extended his streak of consecutive made extra point attempts to 101, along the way moving into eighth on NU's career points scored list with 176. Budzien was named the 2012 Bakken-Anderson Co-Big Ten Kicker of the Year and was a semifinalist for the Groza Award, presented each year to the nation's top kicker.
Coming off a 10-win season last fall, Northwestern opens the 2013 campaign on Saturday, Aug. 31 at California and makes its debut at Ryan Field when it hosts Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!