West Virginia Mountaineers

Florida quarterback Will Grier (7) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Mississippi Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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Report: West Virginia QB Will Grier to be eligible for 2017 season opener

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When quarterback Will Grier was suspended halfway through the 2015 season at Florida due to a failed PED test, it was expected he would be out of action for at least the first half of the 2016 season. Now at West Virginia, Grier will reportedly have to wait until 2017 to play again.

Mike Casazza of The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports, via Twitter, Grier will be eligible for the 2017 season opener as long as he meets eligibility requirements by that point in time.

As previously reported, it was expected Grier would have to sit out the entire 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules. What was previously unknown was whether he would have to sit out the first six games of the 2017 season as well to honor the suspension’s length. Apparently that will not be the case. That should be good news for Grier, as he is itching to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

For those planning ahead, Grier’s first game where he will be eligible to play at West Virginia will be against Virginia Tech in a game to be played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland (home of the Washington Redskins of the NFL) on September 2, 2017. Let the countdown begin.

57 centers named to Rimington Award spring watch list

AJ McCarron, Ryan Kelly
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You know how I know we’re getting closer to the start of a new season?  The first watch list of the offseason has arrived.

The first for that honor this year is the Rimington Award, which on Tuesday released its spring watch list that is 57 players strong.  The Rimington Award, named in honor of former Nebraska standout Dave Rimington, is presented annually to the top center in the nation and is determined by the consensus All-American center pick from three existing All-America teams — Walter Camp. Sporting News and FWAA.

None of the finalists for the 2015 award, won by Alabama’s Ryan Kelly, are included on this year’s initial watch list as all three have since moved on with expired eligibility.

The ACC and SEC pace all conferences with eight watch listers apiece, followed by the AAC and Big 12 with seven each.  The Big Ten placed six, while the Pac-12’s three was the least of all of the Power Five programs.

All 10 of the FBS leagues, plus one independent (Notre Dame), are represented on the spring watch list, the full roster of which appears below.

AAC
Deyshawn Bond, Cincinnati, senior
Ryan Crozier, UConn, redshirt sophomore
Will Noble, Houston, sophomore
Drew Kyser, Memphis, sophomore
Evan Brown, SMU, junior
Brendan McGowan, Temple, redshirt senior
Chandler Miller, Tulsa, sophomore

ACC
Jay Guillermo, Clemson, senior
Alec Eberle, Florida State, redshirt sophomore
Freddie Burden, Georgia Tech, redshirt senior
Nicholas Linder, Miami, junior
Lucas Crowley, North Carolina, senior
Alex Officer, Pittsburgh, redshirt junior
Jason Emerich, Syracuse, redshirt senior
Jackson Matteo, Virginia, senior

BIG TEN
Joe Spencer, Illinois, senior
Sean Welsh, Iowa, junior
Brendan Moore, Maryland, sophomore
Mason Cole, Michigan, junior
Dylan Utter, Nebraska, senior
Michael Dieter, Wisconsin, sophomore

BIG 12
Kyle Fuller, Baylor, senior
Dalton Risner, Kansas State, sophomore
Jonathan Alvarez, Oklahoma, junior
Brad Lundblade, Oklahoma State, junior
Austin Schlottman, TCU, junior
Tony Morales, Texas Tech, senior
Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia, redshirt senior

CONFERENCE USA
Michael Montero, FIU, senior
Dillon DeBoer, FAU, redshirt senior
Daniel Stephens, Middle Tennessee State, senior
Nick Clarke, Old Dominion, sophomore
Cameron Tom, Southern Miss, senior
Max Halpin, Western Kentucky, redshirt senior

MAC
Tim McAuliffe, Bowling Green redshirt junior
James O’Hagan, Buffalo, sophomore

MOUNTAIN WEST
Jake Bennett, Colorado State, junior
Asotui Eli, Hawaii, redshirt sophomore
Nathan Goltry, Nevada, senior
Arthur Flores, San Diego State, senior
Austin Stephens, Utah State, senior

PAC-12
Toa, Lobendahn, USC, junior
Coleman Shelton, Washington, junior
Riley Sorenson, Washington State, senior

SEC
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas, junior
Brandon Kublanow, Georgia, senior
Jon Toth, Kentucky, senior
Ethan Pocic, LSU, senior
Jamaal Clayborn, Mississippi State, senior
Robert Conyers, Ole Miss, senior
Alan Knott, South Carolina, redshirt junior
Coleman Thomas, Tennessee, junior

SUN BELT
Devin Mondie, Arkansas State, senior
Andy Kwon, Georgia Southern, senior
Gabe Mobley, Georgia State, sophomore
Steve Matlock, Idaho, senior

INDEPENDENTS
Sam Mustipher, Notre Dame, junior

ESPN selections set for epic opening weekend

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11:  Clemson Tigers fans cheer in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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We already knew that the opening weekend of the 2016 was going to be epic.  Now we know on which channels (most of the) said epic-ness will take place.

Tuesday, ESPN announced its channel selections for the Week 1 slate of games, with the World Wide Leader kicking off its coverage with South Carolina-Vanderbilt on ESPN Sept. 1 — hold on, it gets better — and being bookended by Ole Miss-Florida State on Labor Day.

In between, it’s highly-anticipated opening Saturday matchups such as Oklahoma-Houston (noon ET, ABC), LSU-Wisconsin (3:30 ET, ABC, Lambeau Field), Georgia-North Carolina (5:30 ET, ESPN), USC-Alabama (8 ET, ABC) and Clemson-Auburn (9 ET, ESPN).  For those with an international lean, and are early risers, the Georgia Tech-Boston College will be broadcast live from Dublin, Ireland, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Oh, and lest we forget the clash of iconic programs: Notre Dame-Texas, kicking off at 7:30 ET Sunday night as the NFL season will be a week away from kicking off.

And all of that is without even mentioning games that have yet to have their broadcast destination announced, including UCLA-Texas A&M, Kansas State-Stanford, Missouri-West Virginia and Arizona-BYU, among others.

So, yes, it’ going to be one hell of an opening weekend.  Go ahead and prepare your goodbyes to family and friends now, informing them you’ll see them on the other side of Labor Day.

WVU dismisses suspended former four-star RB Donte Thomas-Williams

Sep 26, 2015; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers running back Donte Thomas-Williams makes a catch against the Maryland Terrapins during the second quarter at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
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Already suspended, Donte Thomas-Williams has seen his time in Morgantown come to an end altogether.

Monday, WVU announced that head coach Dana Holgorsen has dismissed Thomas-Williams from the Mountaineers football program.  Other than your standard “violation of unspecified team rules,” no reason for the dismissal was given.

In early April, the running back was indefinitely suspended from the Mountaineers for what was described as “conduct detrimental to the team.”  The rising redshirt sophomore was a non-participant this spring.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Thomas-Williams played in a total of four games.  He rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries.

A four-star member of WVU’s 2014 recruiting class, Thomas-Williams was rated as the No. 12 back in the country and the No. 11 player at any position in the state of North Carolina.

Iowa grad transfer Maurice Fleming moves on to West Virginia

JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02:  Von Pearson #9 of the Tennessee Volunteers runs past Maurice Fleming #28 of the Iowa Hawkeyes  during the TaxSlayer Bowl at EverBank Field on January 2, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Less than a month after leaving his original college football home, Maurice Fleming has apparently found a new one.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Fleming revealed that he will be continuing his collegiate playing career at West Virginia.  As the defensive back will be joining the Mountaineers as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately this upcoming season.

The 2016 season will serve as Fleming’s final year of eligibility.

Friday afternoon, WVU confirmed Fleming’s addition to the roster.

Fleming played in 33 games the last three seasons before announcing his decision to transfer from Iowa last month. Last season in the Hawkeyes’ run to the Big Ten championship game, Fleming played in all 14 games.