West Virginia's Grier to skip bowl game

West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier (7) will not play in the team's bowl game vs. Syracuse.Photo: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

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Grier revealed his decision in a statement Saturday morning, explaining that he is bypassing the bowl game in order to prepare for the 2019 NFL Draft.

Although a number of high-profile college players also are skipping bowl games for the season reason, Grier is the first quarterback to go that route. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, a Heisman Trophy finalist, said he will be in the Rose Bowl.

"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," Grier said in the statement. "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."

Grier, who guided West Virginia to an 8-3 overall mark and 6-3 record in the Big 12 during his senior season, received the backing of Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen for his decision to skip the matchup versus Syracuse.

"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 in a statement. "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."

A finalist for a number of high-profile awards, Grier threw for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. He led the Big 12 with an average of 351.3 yards per game.

Grier concluded his college career with a magnificent performance in a 59-56 loss to Oklahoma. He threw for a career-high 539 yards while throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for another.

The NCAA's active leader with in passing yards per game (305.6), Grier had 71 touchdown passes in two seasons at West Virginia after transferring from Florida. He set a school record with 19 300-yard games.