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NFL draft profile: West Virginia quarterback Will Grier

The former Gators star forged a great career with the Mountaineers

TAMPA — Florida Gators fans remember Will Grier. One of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the nation, he started five of six games following a redshirt year and went 5-0. But he was suspended for a year by the NCAA for taking a performance-enhancing supplement.

Grier wound up transferring to West Virginia where he passed for more than 7,200 yards and 71 touchdowns in two seasons. Last year, he put himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation. Unfortunately, that momentum did not carry over to a good Senior Bowl performance. While a good deep ball thrower and a confident leader, some believe he benefited from the Mountaineers system.

What the Bucs are thinking

Grier had an informal interview with the Bucs at the NFL combine and met with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Grier’s highest projection is the fourth round, so he fall further. If he did, the Bucs could take a flier on a young QB who may develop into a solid No. 2. However, it’s not a priority with Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin.

Five questions for Will Grier

How did you overcome such adversity?

You have to be accepting but know that I’m a confident player. I’m confident in my abilities. I do things like this to show what I can do and I’m really just grateful for the opportunity. I wake up every day with great appreciation for life and appreciation to play this game. I’ve been through some adversity where I didn’t have football. Having it back gives you an appreciation for every snap you can take. I’m just blessed to have that opportunity.

What do you say to people who believe you didn’t face elite defenses?

I don’t understand that. I played in the SEC and played in the Big 12. Great defenses, great offenses, great players, great coaches. Gary Patterson (of TCU) is really good at what he does, Iowa State plays good scheme. People can form their own opinions about different things. I think there’s a lot of talent in the Big 12. I think there’s a lot of good football teams. It’s tough to play in the Big 12.

What has West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen meant to you?

Everything. He gave me a second chance. After playing for two different staffs at Florida and two different types of offense, his was very different. It was very cool learning from him. He’s obviously been all over the place and knows how to throw the football around so well and I was excited to play in that offense. The guy is passionate for the game. It’s really cool to be around somebody that passionate for offense and for the game that was willing to let me hang out all the time and pick his brain.

What were your personal highlights?

I’m going to give a shout-out to Florida and West Virginia. The Ole Miss game at Florida was one of the coolest environments I’ve ever been in. I love the University of Florida and never wanted to leave. That was an unbelievable environment. West Virginia’s fan base and game day atmosphere is unbelievable. ... Texas was a fun game. That was there. Texas Tech two years ago at West Virginia was really fun getting a comeback win on homecoming.

Where do you think you may go in the draft?

I’m not totally sure where people have me. I’m a very confident. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in this draft. I would have felt that way if I came out last year. I’m very confident in my abilities. It’s not just about my tape, which is really good, and I think it’s the best tape that there is. But it’s also everything else that goes into playing quarterback that I take pride in.