Welcome, everyone, to what will be the first of many in our 2017 Mountaineer football profile series. We’re going to be taking a look at one or two players every day leading up to opening week as we work our way through our position breakdowns and Fall camp analysis. To start things off, let’s look at...
Will Grier, QB, No. 7
Weight: 204 pounds
Year: Redshirt Junior
Hometown: Davidson, North Carolina
High school: Davidson Day School
Previous college: University of Florida
How he got to Morgantown
We all know the story. Following Florida’s win over the Missouri Tigers to move to 6-0 on the season, Grier was suspended by the NCAA because he tested positive for a performance enhancing drug. Grier planned on sitting out for his year long suspension and returning to the Gators, but Jim McElwain had other plans and eventually pushed Grier into transferring. In December 2015, Grier announced his plan to leave the Gators, and in April 2016 he announced that he would be transferring to West Virginia, where he would sit the remainder of his suspension out concurrently with the NCAA transfer rule.
Grier spoke about his journey with the Gators, and what led to his decision to transfer in a fantastic article with Bleacher Report last year. If you’ve haven’t read this, you need to.
On October 3, 2015, Will Grier led the No. 25 ranked, 4-0 Florida Gators to a stunning victory over the then No. 3 ranked Ole Miss Rebels in Gainesville. Grier had been fairly solid leading up to the fifth week of the season, managing to actually make Florida’s otherwise terrible offense work enough to win. But on this night in The Swamp, Grier stepped into the next level, and rocketed the Gators into playoff talks. Grier completed 24-of-29 passes for 271 yards and four touchdowns, and it looked like he was about to become the next great Florida quarterback.
The starting job is Grier’s to lose, and it would take a colossal meltdown for that to happen. Unlike other former Mountaineer quarterbacks that transitioned or transferred into the system and were almost immediately thrust into the starting job, Grier does have a full season working in Holgorsen’s system and should be able to avoid the first-year struggle that we saw Geno Smith, Clint Trickett and Skyler Howard go through before fully grasping the offense.
I’ll temper the expectations a bit and say that, in a dream 2017 season, Will Grier would lead the West Virginia Mountaineers to their first Big 12 Conference championship with a win in the returning Big 12 title game in December. The idea that West Virginia will find themselves in College Football Playoff consideration this season, while it would definitely be welcomed, is just too out of the realm of possibility, in my opinion. A conference title, on the other hand, is always in play in the Big 12.
In addition to winning the Big 12 Championship, Grier would announce that he will return for the 2018 season, and immediately place the Mountaineers in the midst of pre-season title contenders.
Tomorrow we’ll look at Will Grier’s backup, Chris Chugunov.