Officially eligible, Will Grier "can't wait for Virginia Tech" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Officially eligible, Will Grier "can't wait for Virginia Tech"

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Will Grier prepares for his WVU debut against Virginia Tech on Sept. 3. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) Will Grier prepares for his WVU debut against Virginia Tech on Sept. 3. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
MORGANTOWN -

Dana Holgorsen used West Virginia’s birthday to announce the news Mountaineer fans have been waiting months for: Will Grier will be eligible for the 2017 opener against Virginia Tech.

Of course, WVU football has been operating as though its redshirt-junior quarterback would be cleared ever since the team walked off of the field after the Russell Athletic Bowl. Grier himself has been putting in the work with his receivers in anticipation that for the first time since Oct. 10, 2015, he will be a starting quarterback when the offense takes the field in Landover, Maryland this fall.

“I just feel blessed,” Grier said last week at Lakeview Golf Resort in Morgantown. “It’s God’s plan and I’m really excited to be a part of this new opportunity with West Virginia. They gave me a second chance and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

The expectations set on Grier’s shoulders have existed well before he ever threw a pass on Mountaineer Field. As soon as word got out that the former University of Florida quarterback had chosen West Virginia, his news fans began counting the yards he would put up and the wins he would bring to the program.

Just last week, while introducing Grier at his annual golf outing, former WVU offensive lineman Brian Jozwiak told the Mountaineer signal caller that he “better lead us to the promised land.”

No pressure.

“It’s funny, I’ve seen a lot of guys and played with a bunch of quarterbacks, all different calibers,” offensive lineman Kyle Bosch, a Michigan transfer, said. “I’ve been around [Wolverines quarterback] Denard Robinson to Skyler Howard and I think Will has handled this better than any of them could have.”

Grier will eventually put on the uniform and line up behind center and get a chance to prove his worth, but in the meantime, Heisman campaigns have already sprung up around the Mountain State as his name pops up as a dark horse in the race for college football’s top individual honor.

“He doesn’t have to act like he’s something special, he just is,” Bosch said of Grier. “He just has that aura about him in which he can perform and not really have to worry about X, Y and Z. He’s really one of those kids that just focuses on the task at hand.”

The 6-foot-2, 202-pound Grier played in six games for the Gators with five starts as he completed 106 of his 161 passes for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns. When he was served his yearlong suspension, Florida was undefeated.

His search for a new home led him to Holgorsen’s Mountaineers and the campus of West Virginia University, where he quickly found a comfort level that pushed him to sign with the Mountaineers.

“It’s a great place,” Grier said of Morgantown. “There’s a passion for football here. I love Dana’s offense, the strength staff is the best I’ve been around in the country. They really helped develop me. It’s just felt like home, man. This is a great place with great people.”

Grier’s impact was immediately felt in practice. As the scout team quarterback, starting defenders would marvel at the way the quarterback-in-waiting prepared his side of the ball. Former WVU cornerback Rasul Douglas once said that Grier made players on scout team who otherwise were not so talented appear to be much better than they were.

Now, the hope in the facility is that he will do exactly that with the offensive starters.

“The receiving corps really works hard. We throw a lot, working on timing and everything like that, and I’m really impressed with them. They’re a great group of guys,” Grier said. “The way these guys are working, all of them have a chance to step up. We have some talented guys and we’re going to be really good on offense this year. I’m really looking forward to it.”

New offensive coordinator Jake Spavital lights up when he talks about Grier’s ability and his leadership in the huddle. He has such confidence in his quarterback’s mental capacity that he intends to give him latitude to make his own checks based on what the defense shows prior to the snap.

“It gives me a lot of freedom,” Grier said. “[Spavital] has confidence in me getting us in the right play and executing that play. With reps and learning the guys I’ve got and getting in the right play, it gives me the opportunity to get us in what I want to and not just calling a play, going to the line and having one or two checks. I can really call whatever I want, just based on flow and how everything’s going. It’s very different than what I did in Florida, but spring really gave me a lot of reps to adjust to it and it’s going to be really fun going into the fall.”

Grier’s first taste of football for the Mountaineers came in April’s Gold-Blue Game as he racked up 202 yards on 12-of-18 passing. It was a fine debut for a player who has unprecedented hype to lead West Virginia after a season and a half on the sideline.

“I’m obviously excited to get out there against Virginia Tech, but the spring game was awesome, just to compete with my teammates in front of the fans, the people that support us,” Grier said. “I can’t wait for Virginia Tech.”

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