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Grier gets another shot at ECU

West Virginia Virginia Tech Football-3

West Virginia's Will Grier passes in the first half against Virginia Tech in Landover, Md., on Sunday night.

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, September 8, 2017

When Will Grier was on his way out with the Florida Gators and looking at other schools, East Carolina seemed like a possibility because Grier is a North Carolina native and his father, Chad Grier, was a quarterback back for the Pirates in 1990.

It didn’t happen and Grier is now in the early process of hoping to become the next great quarterback at West Virginia. That process continues Saturday when WVU hosts East Carolina in a matchup of teams looking to bounce back after opening losses.

Grier gets a chance to beat his father’s school, and this is actually the second time he is in this position. Early in the 2015 season — Grier’s only active year with the Gators — he and Treon Harris split QB duties as UF held on beat the Pirates 31-24 in Gainesville, Fla.

There is no more part-time duty for Grier, as he is the clear starter for WVU, and the junior was 31-of-53 for 371 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in his debut with the team. He also rushed for 52 yards in Sunday’s 31-24 loss to Virginia Tech.

“I’ve known Will for a while now and was actually at a practice while he was quarterbacking at Florida, and he is exactly what I saw down there,” Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery said of watching the West Virginia-Virginia Tech game. “He has that ability to extend plays and he’s accurate and can throw it on the move.”

The 2015 outing against the Pirates saw the redshirt freshman Grier complete 10-of-17 passes for 151 yards, two TDs and an interception.

He was a big-time prospect out of Davidson Day School after a prep career that included him winning the Parade National Player of the Year award. But his time at Florida ended in part because of a year-long suspension by the NCAA for a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance that Grier said at the time was in an over-the-counter supplement. 

His second chance has come with a talented WVU squad. Grier and the Mountaineers were listed Thursday as a 24.5-point favorite for Saturday’s noon game.

“He’s a mobile quarterback, and that’s something we have to really focus on,” said ECU senior defensive end Kiante Anderson, who had the Pirates’ lone sack in their loss to James Madison. “We have to stay in our lanes and just keep him maintained in that pocket.”

With Grier a threat to improvise and scramble at any time, how he performs when he does act as a more traditional passer is already a big part of this West Virginia team’s makeup.

“He’s elusive in the pocket, but if the pocket is there, he will stay in there,” Montgomery said. “Overall, he’s just a good player and he knows how to use his weapons.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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