WVU QB Will Grier will skip bowl to prepare for NFL Draft
West Virginia senior Will Grier, one of the top quarterbacks in the nation the past two seasons and one of the best all-time in school history, decided to skip his team’s game against Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl on Dec. 28 to focus on preparing for the NFL Draft.
Grier is the second Mountaineers player to announce he won’t play in the bowl game. Offensive left tackle Yodny Cajuste, the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, previously said he’ll miss the game to begin focusing on the draft, Cajuste, who protects Grier’s blind side, is projected as a second- or third-round choice.
Grier finished his WVU career completing 516 of 785 passes for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns. He threw for 300 or more yards in a school-record 19 games and had multiple touchdowns 20 times. He threw for five touchdowns five times.
For his career, he is the NCAA active leader in passing yards per game (305.6), ranks third in total offense (310.9) and fifth in pass efficiency (165.1). This season, he threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns and also ran for three scores.
“It has been an honor to wear the WVU uniform, and I sincerely thank all of Mountaineer Nation for allowing my family and I to be a part of something so special,” he said in a statement. “While we did not win every time we took the field, and I shoulder that responsibility, I can assure you that we tried.
“After discussions with my family, and after receiving professional input, I have decided not to participate in our upcoming bowl game and focus on preparing myself and my family for what I hope is the next step in our journey.”
Coach Dana Holgorsen said he supports Grier’s decision.
“Will and I spoke at length about the bowl game, and I am fully supportive of his decision to begin preparing for the NFL Draft,” Holgorsen said. “While we will miss him in Orlando, Will’s commitment and service to WVU football over the last three years will be talked about for many years to come.
“He led us with class, hard work and a willingness to learn, and set a high standard for his teammates. He will always be part of our family.”
Redshirt sophomore Jack Allison, who hasn’t played a full season since his senior year at Palmetto (Fla.) High School in 2015, is the Mountaineers backup QB. In six games this season, he completed 6 of 10 passes for 75 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Grier is one of the top quarterbacks available in the 2019 draft. In a mock draft posted by The Sporting News after the end of the regular season, Grier was projected to be picked sixth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars, immediately after Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
Grier was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate this season, but he was not invited to the presentation ceremony Saturday in New York City. He was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Manning Award, Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Grier, who graduated from West Virginia last year with a degree in multidisciplinary studies, led the Mountaineers to an 8-3 record (6-3 in the Big 12) and a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press and Amway Coaches Poll. WVU was ranked 16th in the College Football Playoff poll.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.