This Day in WVU History: Will Grier Transfers to West Virginia

In just two years, Will Grier became one of the best quarterbacks in WVU history.
Publish date:

On April 6th, 2016, former Florida quarterback Will Grier announced that he would be transferring to West Virginia. 

In the fall of 2015, Grier was suspended for the final six games of the season for violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Grier unknowingly took something over the counter that had a substance that was on the ban list. It was a true honest mistake that happened, but it may have been a blessing in disguise as it opened the door to find his 2nd home in West Virginia.

After Skyler Howard led the Mountaineers to a 10-win season in 2016, expectations were extremely high. Everyone had a good feeling that 2017 would be more of a learning year for Grier and some of the young, inexperienced receivers for West Virginia, but the developmental year could set up for what could be an incredible run in 2018. 

In his first year as the starting quarterback at WVU, Grier tossed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes. Riding into senior day, West Virginia had a 7-3 record and had won two games in a row with Texas on deck. Early in the first half, Grier dove for the pylon on a rollout to the left in an attempt to rush in a touchdown and had one of the most gruesome injuries you'll ever see. He broke his middle finger on his throwing hand during his dive toward the pylon and was unable to return for the rest of the season. 

Despite all the question marks surrounding Grier's future, he had a terrific offseason and threw for 429 yards and five touchdowns right out of the gate in the 2018 season opener against Tennessee in Charlotte. That game alone pushed him well into the Heisman Trophy conversation, and he continued to put up big numbers week after week. The only hiccup he and the Mountaineers had was on the road at Iowa State, where Matt Campbell's Cyclones absolutely shut down West Virginia's high-powered offense. WVU came into that game undefeated and ranked No. 6 in the country. Even following the loss, there was a strong feeling that WVU could remain in the picture for the College Football Playoff conversation if they took care of business.

A couple of weeks later, Grier had one of the most clutch throws in WVU football history as he hit Gary Jennings in stride for a touchdown vs. Texas with just seconds left in the game. Then, he followed that up by running in the two-point conversion to take the lead and ultimately win the game.

Late in November, the Mountaineers needed a big road win at Oklahoma State. After leading 31-14 at the half, the offense was shutout in the 3rd quarter, and WVU would be outscored 31-10 in the final two quarters of play, falling 45-41. Grier had a chance for some late-game heroics once again, but his heave to the end zone fell incomplete.

Now that the CFP was a bit out of reach, their focus turned to make the Big 12 Championship game. All they had to do was beat Oklahoma in the final week of the season, which would have set up a rematch with the Sooners the following week. Grier and Kyler Murray went back and forth all game long, making both defenses look silly. Oklahoma snuck out with a 59-56 win, but Grier had an outstanding performance throwing for 539 yards and four touchdowns. Yes, some folks want to blame him for the two fumbles he had that turned into touchdowns, but the defense still gave up 45 points, so it's hard to really place any blame on him or any members of the offense.

West Virginia may not have reached a Big 12 title game or made an appearance in the College Football Playoff during the Will Grier era, but he will go down as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the program.

For his career, Grier threw for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns.

You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the page's top righthand corner. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:

Facebook - @WVUonSI

Twitter - @SI_WVU and Schuyler Callihan at @Callihan_.