Grier out of West Virginia’s bowl

MORGANTOWN — For the second year in a row, No. 16 West Virginia (8-3) will go into bowl season without its standout quarterback.

However, unlike a year ago when Will Grier missed the Zaxby Heart of Dallas Bowl while recovering from a broken hand suffered in the Mountaineers’ 28-14 loss to Texas, this time it will be by choice. WVU’s offensive leader has elected to forego playing in the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, Fla., to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft.

“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,” Grier said. “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 (Dana) Holgorsen, coach (Jake) 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…”

Grier’s announcement comes on the heals of offensive left tackle Yodny Cajuste, who also will forego playing in the postseason for the Mountaineers.

“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,” Holgorsen said. “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.”

Grier earned a spot as a Heisman Trophy contender and finished as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Manning Award, Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year Award, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and the Senior Class Award.

He passed for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns, as WVU finished the regular season with a national ranking of No. 15 in both polls and a No. 16 ranking by the College Football Playoff committee.

The job of leading the OMountaineers against the Orange from Syracuse now will fall on the shoulders of University of Miami transfer Jack Allison, who saw action in six games this season, completing 6 of 10 attempts for 75 yards, one touchdown and one interception.