WVU QB Will Grier to Skip Camping World Bowl Game to Prepare for 2019 NFL Draft

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2018

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 23:  Will Grier #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers in action against the Oklahoma Soonersrs on November 23, 2018 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier announced Saturday he's going to skip the 2018 Camping World Bowl against the Syracuse Orange on Dec. 28 to focus on the 2019 NFL draft.

WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said he's "fully supportive" of Grier's decision.

"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," Holgorsen said. "He led us with class, hard work and a willingness to learn, and set a high standard for his teammates."

Grier, a senior who started the last two seasons for the Mountaineers after arriving as a transfer from the Florida Gators, said in a statement that wearing the West Virginia uniform was an "honor":

"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 [wife] 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 [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."

Grier vaulted himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation with a terrific 2018 campaign. He completed 67 percent of his throws for 3,864 yards with 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He added three rushing scores but wasn't named among the Heisman finalists.

Now the 23-year-old North Carolina native is tasked with proving he should be a first-round pick.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller rated Grier as the No. 30 overall player and the third-best quarterback in the 2019 draft class on his latest Big Board. The Oregon Ducks' Justin Herbert and Duke Blue Devils' Daniel Jones are the two QBs ahead of him on Miller's list.

A strong showing during the draft process would likely give him a chance to land inside the draft's top 10 given the importance of the quarterback position in the modern NFL.

Meanwhile, West Virginia will now be without at least two key players for its battle with Syracuse. Along with Grier, starting left tackle Yodny Cajuste announced Friday he's also skipping the bowl game to begin draft prep.

Those absences limit the upside of a Mountaineers offense that ranks eighth in yards per game this season.

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