West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier will not participate in the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse as he begins preparing for the 2019 NFL draft.
Grier announced his decision Saturday, thanking WVU coaches, teammates and fans for their support. He had 3,864 passing yards and 37 touchdowns for the Mountaineers, who went 8-3 and finished third in the Big 12.
📝 A message from Will Grier… pic.twitter.com/4mOnm3dRcK
— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) December 8, 2018
A Heisman Trophy contender for much of the season, Grier was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Manning Award, Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Senior CLASS Award.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper lists Grier as his No. 3 draft-eligible quarterback for 2019. Most projections put Grier in the first or second round of the draft.
When: April 25-27
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
How to watch: ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN App
“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,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. “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.”
West Virginia starting tackle Yodny Cajuste announced Friday that he also would skip the bowl game to prepare for the draft.
Jack Allison, a transfer from Miami, likely will start in Grier’s place against Syracuse on Dec. 28.
Grier began his career at Florida before being suspended one year for violating the NCAA’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He transferred to West Virginia and played two seasons, completing 516-of-785 passes for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns and accounting for 76 total touchdowns. He threw for 300 or more yards in a school-record 19 games at WVU and had multiple touchdown games 20 times.
Grier is the NCAA’s active leader in career passing yards per game (305.6).