The West Virginia Mountaineers will have to play in the Camping World Bowl without their star quarterback Will Grier, who announced he would be skipping the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft.
Grier is viewed as one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft class. He released a statement through WVU Athletics:
Dear Mountaineer Family:
“Since arriving in Morgantown, Jeanne and I have been welcomed into the Mountaineer Family and we, along with Eloise, have been so blessed by the support and love of so many. I hope that, in return, you know that I have given my all and worked hard each and every day to help our football program and University.
“While we did not win every time we took the field, and I shoulder that responsibility, I can assure you that we tried. 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. 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.
“It has been an honor to wear the WVU uniform, and I sincerely thank all of Mountaineer Nation for allowing my family and I to be a part of something so special. Country roads, take me home…”
In a statement, head coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement, “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. 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. He will always be part of our family, and we wish him, Jeanne and Eloise all the best in pursuit of their dreams.”
The Mountaineers came into the season with minimum expectations of reaching the Big 12 Championship Game. That didn’t happen after the team suffered tough losses at Iowa State, at Oklahoma State and against Oklahoma. In 11 games this season, Grier threw for nearly 3,900 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while completing 67% of his passes.
The Mountaineers now turn to sophomore Jack Ellison, a Florida native who redshirted at Miami in 2016 before transferring in 2017. West Virginia takes on Syracuse in Orlando on Dec. 28 at 4:15 p.m. on ESPN.
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