It was bound to happen at some point. West Virginia quarterback Will Grier announced his decision to sit out of West Virginia’s upcoming bowl trip to the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse, thus becoming the first notable quarterback to opt out of the college football postseason in favor of preparing for the NFL draft.
“After discussions with Jeanne and 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,” Grier said in a released statement on Saturday morning. “I want to thank Coach Holgorsen, Coach Spavital and all of our coaches for believing in me and, most importantly, to my teammates, who are now lifelong friends who taught me the true meaning of TEAM.”
Grier came to West Virginia to resurrect his college football career after running into a problem at Florida with performance-enhancing drugs that led to an NCAA suspension. Grier took advantage of his opportunity with the Mountaineers by quickly becoming one of the most productive passers in the Big 12. This season, Grier was a finalist for the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Manning Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award after earning second-team All-Big 12 honors for passing for a Big 12-leading 351.3 yards per game with 37 touchdowns and 3,864 passing yards for the Mountaineers. West Virginia fell one win shy of playing for a Big 12 championship this season.
Grier is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft class, so his decision to pas son the bowl game in order to stay in the best shape possible for the upcoming draft process is far from surprising. His decision was made a day after West Virginia starting left tackle Yodny Cajuste opted to do the same.
West Virginia is scheduled to play Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 28.
West Virginia offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste has played his last downs as a Mountaineer. That is because Cajuste has stated he will pass on playing in West Virginia’s bowl game this season so he can begin focusing on the NFL draft process. Cajuste announced his decision with a message on Twitter.
Cajuste is coming off a year that saw him named All-Big 12 First Team as a lineman for one of the top offenses in the country at West Virginia. Cajuste choosing to not play in the bowl game is not the least bit expected given his potential draft stock and being a senior. This is, after all, the growing trend in college football during the bowl season, and now West Virginia awaits to learn if quarterback Will Grier will make a similar decision or choose to play in the bowl game.
As noted by Smoking Musket, decisions from wide receivers David Sills V and Gary Jennings are also looming in Morgantown. Sills did previously state he had a desire to play in the bowl game, although it remains to be seen if that will still be the case with West Virginia missing out on a Naw Years Six bowl game.
West Virginia is scheduled to play Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Florida on Dec. 28. The old Big East rivals will play in a Big 12 vs. ACC matchup. It will be the second time the two schools have faced each other since West Virginia left the Big East for the Big 12, but the first since Syracuse left the Big East for the ACC. Syracuse beat West Virginia in the 2012 Pinstripe Bowl, 38-14.
College football’s award season is drawing near. The Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is in the spirit of the season with the announcement of 10 finalists for their award this season, honoring the top fourth-year quarterback in college football using a number of conditions including character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities in addition to on-field success. And because the award is designed for seniors and fourth-year juniors scheduled to graduate with their class, you won’t find Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa on this list.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier and Michigan’s Shea Patterson are among the list of candidates up for the award as finalists this season, it was announced on Thursday. Both players have certainly played a key role in guiding their respective teams into position to play for and win their respective conference titles with the final weeks of the season underway. UCF’s McKenzie Milton is in a similar position and was named a finalist for the award as well.
Joining those three are a pair of ACC quarterbacks with Syracuse’s Eric Dungey and NC State’s Ryan Finley. Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington State’s Gardner Minshew are representing the Pac-12 and Penn State’s Trace McSorley joins Patterson as the Big Ten representatives on the list of finalists for the award. Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is the lone SEC player named as a finalist and Boise State’s Brett Rypien is standing tall for the Mountain West Conference.
Past Golden Arm Award winners include Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Boston College’s Matt Ryan and Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn. Rudolph was last year’s recipient of the award.
It was a tale of two halves between No. 12 West Virginia (4-0, 2-0 Big 12) and No. 25 Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) in Lubbock, but at the end of the game, it was West Virginia heading home with a victory after going flat in the second half on offense. Will Grier passed for 370 yards and three touchdowns as West Virginia beat Texas Tech 42-34 Saturday afternoon.
West Virginia led Texas Tech 35-10 at halftime, but the Red Raiders turned things up a few notches in the second half. West Virginia punted three times and missed a field goal on their first four possessions of the second half. Jett Duffey helped lead a comeback effort for Texas Tech in place of the injured Alan Bowman, but a play action pass was picked off late in the fourth quarter and returned by Keith Washington for a much-needed and seemingly elusive dagger for the Mountaineers.
The win not only keeps West Virginia undefeated this season but continues to keep them in a good spot atop the Big 12 standings moving forward. And despite a slow second half, Grier will have a solid box score to add to his Heisman Trophy campaign. He certainly was in a groove with receiver Marcus Simms. Simms caught nine passes for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Texas Tech lost quarterback Bowman to an injury in the first half. His status moving forward is unknown at this time. The Red Raiders are now very thin at quarterback as they look to move on from this home loss.
Next up for West Virginia is a home Big 12 game against Kansas. The Mountaineers appear to be in a favorable position to get to November in the Big 12 driver’s seat, if not just on the College Football Playoff bubble. But if a challenging November schedule is going to mean anything for West Virginia, it still must put away Kansas, Iowa State, and Baylor.
Texas Tech will look to rebound in two weeks with a Thursday night road game against TCU in two weeks. Texas Tech is off next week.
Will Grier and the No. 12 West Virginia Mountaineers came ready for a track meet at No. 25 Texas Tech. Perhaps Texas Tech was still waking up at the time the game started because the visiting Mountaineers got off to a fast start and took a 21-0 lead before Texas Tech got on the board. At halftime in Lubbock, West Virginia leads Texas Tech by a score of 35-10 in a Big 12 matchup of ranked opponents.
Grier capped the game’s opening drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Gary Jennings Jr. After Alan Bowman was intercepted on Texas Tech’s first offensive series by Kenny Robinson Jr., Leddie Brown scored a short touchdown run for a 14-0 lead. The lead was extended to 21-0 on a Grier 45-yard pass to Marcus Simms later in the first quarter. Sims has been the big playmaker of the game, with nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Bowman got the Red Raiders on the board with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Antoine Wesley, but the Mountaineers responded on the ensuing possession with a 38-yard touchdown run by Kennedy McKoy.
After one half, Grier has won the quarterback showdown with Bowman by passing for 278 yards and three touchdowns. Bowman has had a rough afternoon, completing 9 of 20 passes for 123 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also knocked out of the game in the first half, going to the locker room before halftime. It is being reported he will not return to the game.