Grier doesn’t hold back on PEDs at UF, a bowl skip and his arm

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NFL scouts, coaches and prospects have gathered in Mobile, Alabama, for the Senior Bowl. The game for top senior NFL prospects and junior graduates will feature quarterbacks like Missouri’s Drew Lock, West Virginia's Will Grier (pictured) and Duke’s Daniel Jones. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt, File)

By Joe Schad, GateHouse Florida

MOBILE, Ala. — There were lots of tough questions for former Florida quarterback Will Grier at the Senior Bowl following Tuesday’s practice.

Grier, who finished his career at West Virginia, was grilled about why he skipped his last bowl game, why he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug when in Gainesville, and perhaps more importantly to NFL scouts, if his arm is strong enough.

Grier, a possible second-round selection in the next NFL Draft, replied with moxie, passion and spunk.

“I don’t understand some of the things that have been put out there,” Grier said. “I’m the best quarterback in this draft. I think my arm talent is there. My play will speak for itself.”

Grier is lumped into a solid quarterback class with players like Jarrett Stidham (Auburn) and Ryan Finley (North Carolina State), behind Drew Lock (Missouri) and Daniel Jones (Duke), who are more probable first-rounders.

“I am confident in my abilities,” Grier said. “Ask my receivers. Ask the guys at Florida. Ask the guys I played against if my arm strength is a problem. You know. It doesn’t necessarily make me mad. I think my play speaks for itself. That’s part of why I’m here. I hope people can see my arm strength out here.”

Grier transferred to West Virginia after testing positive for Ligandrol, which he said he received over-the-counter. Surely every NFL team, including the Dolphins (with whom he says he’s already met) will ask for an explanation.

“The story is out there,” Grier said. “It was an unfortunate thing that really hurt me. I poured my heart and soul into that program. I wanted to stay there. I poured my heart and soul into those teammates. I led by example there. I pride myself on outworking everybody and it was really rough on me. I feel like I let my teammates down.”

Grier seemed willing to take a drug test right out on the practice field.

“I’ve been on thousands of drug test lists since then, never had another issue,” he said. “That’s just not who I am. And I would never let me teammates down in any circumstance again. That’s one of the things I learned. Moving forward, it’s a non-issue. Any organization that gives me a chance will get me. And I’ll pour my heart into the organization and do whatever it takes to win football games.”

Grier received some criticism for skipping West Virginia’s bowl game to begin preparations for the NFL Draft. For this, he provided an explanation.

“I actually tore my ankle up in the Texas game,” he said. “Didn’t really put that out to the media. But it was pretty rough the last few games. And Dana (Holgoresen) and I sat down. I was planning on playing for about a week. I was getting treatment and preparing to play and me and Dana sat down and he thought it was best to get Jack Allison some reps. And get some younger guys some reps in the bowl game. He knew how important it was for me to get healthy and chase my dream.”

Grier is listed at 6-foot-2 and some question how his success in the Air Raid offense will translate to the NFL. There have been some questions about his mechanics. But he does deliver an exciting, fearless style of quarterback play.

Grier also possesses a certain magnetism that presents almost immediately.

“I take leading very seriously,” he said. “I think I connect with guys on a personal level. With everybody. I try to pull guys aside 1-on-1 and talk with them. Get on the same page. Make sure they know I care about them and I’m doing whatever it takes to get this team a win. And I think also that I lead by example. I think for the entire team if you’re doing all the little things right then everybody else will follow.”

Grier was asked if he feels he got a “raw deal” while at Florida.

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “People can form their own opinions. It was part of my journey. It was some adversity I dealt with and came out stronger on the other side. And I appreciate that.”

Joe Schad is a sports writer for the Palm Beach Post.

58 COMMENTS

  1. I have no doubt he will be successful in the NFL. As for skipping a bowl game? If you aren’t playing for a possible national championship why risk it? And once again, Jim Knucklewain thanks for letting the best QB since Tebow get away.

    • One of the things MacElwain got right. Kid (and his father) was a diva. He wasn’t kicked off the team, he left the team, came back in spring and wanted a guarantee he would be the starter the next season five games in.

      • I think your timeline is off. But….If McElwain and Nuss were such offensive gurus, the guarantee should have been easy with the quarterbacks they had on roster. The talent difference was massive between Grier and the rest of them. The only silver lining about the bad decision from McElwain is that it contributed to his departure.

          • That “cast of qbs” had a couple that went to the NFL…. after our coaches didn’t know what to do with them and they transferred.

          • Understand though, he wasn’t kicked off the team, he was suspended from playing by the NCAA. He LEFT the team in mid season. He coulda shoulda been on the sidelines. And you can see his decision now to think of only himself. It’s a pattern. By your rationale, you’d be happy to have Winston play QB for you, I would not. I’ll take character all day. And Comarley has a good point, some of those QB that didn’t start and we traded are on NFL rosters now. And MacYellowTeeth couldn’t get anything out of his QBs.

          • I was impressed too with his level of self promotion evidenced in the article, Gelco, but let it go for obvious reasons. It does, however, appear to be a cognitive pattern, doesn’t it?

            I came up with a few guys over the years who were always telling everybody who would listen how good they were. Most fell by the wayside and were never heard from again; one went pretty far but wound up stepping all over his poncho liner in the end and it was all for naught.

          • Ah, I’m just discussing with RS, I too wish we had Grier, however, what he did he did himself and cannot blame anyone else. In the long run it resulted with us getting what appears thus far to be a great coach. I think I read that article in the Sun talking about his Dad being a co spotlight hog, but he is obviously all about me and not team. Maybe he should be, who am I to say? I don’t walk in his shoes. He DOES have to look out for himself. But first and foremost I’m a Gator and Grier was not team and it costs us. Don’t care about Diva Grier.

        • I don’t think Gelco is too far off on his timeline. As I recall, he got a mandatory 1 year NCAA suspension in Mid-October of 2015, subsequently losing his appeal — but didn’t come back in the Spring of 2016 since he decided to transfer in December of 2015. It was reported in the media that prior to that he and his father wanted Mac to give a guarantee that he would be the starting QB at Florida when he returned from suspension in October of 2016, which Mac declined to do. Hence the transfer. In my mind, he and his father came out as making an unreasonable demand, hence the “diva” label.

          I’ll give the kid this, regardless of what one believes to be the truth: He is a first class QB who would be a first class QB in any Power-5 conference. Whether or not Mac would have developed him to the fullest, used him properly, or even changed the course of Gator history with him……will never be known.

          • How could McLoser give a guarantee? He never started a season with a #1 qb. It was always a rotation. Only a Loser can’t ever name a starter and that’s why he’s somewhere else. Kid was smart to leave. Any qb that signs to play with Muschump at this point deserves to not be good as he’s a poor decision maker.

          • Well David, you and I apparently agree on that. I still think Mac was right not to give a guarantee, if that was indeed the way it went down — as reported in the media. We weren’t aware of all of Mac’s liabilities at the time either — they were yet to be revealed — but those are really neither here or there as far as the decision went. Again, if we got the full and actual story from the media.

          • All good points on Grier but I doubt Mac would have done well with him. There was no offense being developed. We might have had an empty winning season (meaning we’d be above 500 with no ability to win against the tougher teams) and lose when it mattered. While this incident and the KH9 contributed to ask early demise the lack of development and control was already gaining momentum. We’re on a better path now. Good luck to Grier.

          • One can only assume that Mac probably figured Franks would come in and take over and losing Grier wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Truth be told, Grier wasn’t exactly lighting it up. Yeah he had a great game against Ole Miss, but in every other game he was barely breaking 200 yards passing and most of those games were nail biters. Even against Tenn, he was terrible for pretty much 3 quarters. It was the defense that was winning most of those games. Hell, Del Rio started the season 5-0. People seem to forget how great those defenses were and just assume Grier’s 6-0 start was all him. It’s easy to sit here now and see how good he turned out and start claiming Mac should’ve known then how good he was going to be. Mac was needing to please a fan base immediately and couldn’t sit around for a year and a half and wait for him. He needed to move on and try to win quick, which obviously he didn’t do. Gator65, I think you’re spot on with your doubts about Mac getting the most out of him. Grier even stated publicly that he was handcuffed by Mac and Nuss and wasn’t allowed to change plays at the line like he was allowed to do at WVU. I think there’s no way he would’ve put up the same numbers. He probably would’ve won more games than Franks on sheer talent alone, but the fat and weak o-line would’ve held him back big time. His talent wouldn’t have been able to overcome a ridiculous strength and conditioning program. Grier made the best decision, now lets see if he can become the first WVU Qb to have any kind’ve success at the next level.

          • It’s kind of funny in an odd sort of way, but Grier is apparently one of many triggers to a very sorry mini-era of Gator football. I think Joe and 65 are correct to wish him well and put the thing in perspective, if not context, despite his seeming to perhaps over-do it on self promotion. I do too as far as that goes. While we are long past the need to convict Mac of anything — he’ll be gone for nearly two years when this season begins — I still think it will remain unanswered as to whether or not he would have had a different trajectory with Grier vs without him. Would it have changed history? Would his personality liabilities have come to the forefront as quickly as they did? Would Dan Mullen be here now or not? I say no, yes, and yes…..based on the totality of factors….not the least of which being his choice of OCs…..his unwillingness to make changes when he should have….but in all fairness, we’ll never know. One thing we do know, however, is that Dan Mullen is here now and we’re damn glad of that regardless of how he got here! Hooah? Go Gators!

          • Gator-6, I lived too close to Vegas and Primm to watch much tv…lol. I was stationed at NTC during the GATORS NC game against OSU. All I kept hearing was how bad they were going to beat us. I would just smile and say that they had never played a defense like ours…LOL. See, everyone there knew I was a GATORS fan and I was catching hell from all sides – until after the game…LOL. NO ONE wanted to run into me the next day and we had a mission going on too. I wore my GATORS shirt under my DCU’s instead of the regulation Tee. Pat back was awesome that day and I gave it to them all with both barrels…LMAO! GO GATORS!!!

          • Ed: One Strip-o-Gram on it’s way!

            You might get a kick out of this, CO too, but there was an AP article in today’s newspaper about some guy in Pa who has a physician approved 5′ alligator as his “comfort service pet”. Apparently the gator likes hugs, rests his snout on the guy’s knee, shares chicken wings, has never bitten anyone and…..wait for it, wait for it…….is afraid of cats.

            No foolin’. Thought you and Jones could have a lot of fun with that one while we wait for National Signing Day and the O&B game.

          • But 6, imagine this, Grier wants a guarantee for when he comes back the next year for the sixth game. Suppose whoever was starting was 6-0? Grier should be man enough to complete with confidence.

    • We get it. You and a million others hate coach Mac and no decision he ever made, no matter how correct, will be judged without that cloud of emotion. No way in hell a coach should guarantee to a college freshman who just screwed his team over that he would start upon returning to the team midway through the next season. Mac made the only decision palpable for a school deserving of any respect.
      He got a lot of other things wrong, but not Grier. You point fingers, then do it in the direction of Grier, not Mac.

  2. Kid made a mistake, and was really the only reason Mac and Nuss even looked half-way competent in their first year at UF. When Grier got suspended, we saw that it was Grier’s Heisman-potential arm and QB skills that was masking Mac and Nuss’s incompetence.

  3. WG is a talent for sure. Was quite disappointed with his mistake and then what appeared to be mis-management by the prior staff. In their defense, they know more about the kid/father than I and it may have been purposeful.

    I also had reservations about the whole affair after seeing pictures of his father and step-mother and some other ladies wearing Free Willy t-shirts and bikinis.

    This is a family that is completely into self-promotion (google Grier family) and I thought this was a stunt in bad taste at the time. The kid took the PFD’s. He was no martyr but they acted like he was.

    I like a QB with the utmost confidence but to be quoted at this point in time saying he is the best QB in the draft is for me more evidence that he is not simply confident but someone with thin skin that feels slighted.

    He may end up being a good pro, hope that the drama that comes with him fades.

  4. I thought UF went out of it’s way to specifically REFUTE Grier’s claim that the banned substance was Ligandrol. Maybe I remember it wrong – but if I remember it right, then that is a pretty major fact error by the writer.

  5. If Grier had stayed….the Gator offense would’ve looked much better….until Grier left for the NFL. Then Mac and Nuss’ true offensive wizardry would’ve come out, just a few years later than it did. And Coach Mullen would not be our current coach. I think I’m fine with how things are today so it was worth Grier leaving… short term pain for long term gain.

  6. Things sometimes happen for a reason. The Grier decision was McElwhiner’s first major faux pas as Gator HBC and it led to a chain reaction that brought us CDM.

    I believe McElwhiner was MUCH harder on Grier than he was on the credit card fraud 9. And his transgression paled by comparison to theirs. McElwhiner believed his own recruit, one Feleipe Franks, had more talent and would be locked into the starting job by the time Grier came off suspension in October 2017, hence he wouldn’t guarantee him the starting job back. McElwhiner turned out to be spectacularly mistaken in that assessment and everything unraveled on him from that point forward.

    I for one am glad things turned out the way they did. Had McElwhiner made an effort to work with Grier, the kid might have stayed and perhaps saved his job. That would have postponed the Gators’ disaster season to 2018 and CDM would have assisted in accelerating that disaster… as the new HBC of the Tennessee Volunteers.

    Now, that is a real nightmare to try and contemplate!

    Go Gators!!!

  7. It’s funny how things work out. Had Grier not left UF when he did, Coach Mac could still be here.

    Grier was all in for UF a year or so before arriving on campus and all the time here. He brought a lot of good players to Gainesville as a Parade All-American. It was a stupid mistake bulking his frame and upper body with a juiced supplement. Oh what might have been had he stayed in the orange and blue. The Old Miss game was a preview and curtain call of his considerable talents.

    I wish him luck. He should play on Sundays, even if he isn’t exactly a prototypical NFL QB.

  8. His leaving was a blessing in disguise, as many of you have said. Also, you guys are right on that you can’t give a kid , or his dad, a “guarantee”. Heck, Old Yeller couldn’t guarantee his job status in a year. Nonetheless, how would a more saavy coach have handled Grier and his dad ? I know what Bobby Bowden would have done. He would have lied to the kid and told him he was his QB–period. There is a milder ground the Shark Whisperer could have taken to not “guarantee” him anything , and thus lie, but still keep the best QB on his roster in the program. None of us know how it went down but it was a battle of egos and Moby Dick chose his ego . Grier was gone. Our offense sucked. But now we have one of the best coaches in America. Things do happen for a reason, and it turned out for the best for the Gators. I wish Will the best. He had an outstanding year and W. Va was good for him.

  9. Diva? I think some commenters are divas. Grier is a stud. And showed a lot of sportsmanship and team commitment to the Gators during those months of goofy supposed QB controversy with his competitor (already forgot his name), before he eventually became the full time starter. He’s not responsible for his wacko father. Other than the side arm motion that Kosar had, he reminds me a lot of a Bernie Kosar, in the exciting play, smart decision making, accurate arm, wide stance, and gutsy play. I see him having a similar impact in the NFL. Who knows, maybe he’ll go to Cleveland? Thoroughly enjoyed watching him for the limited time hew was a Gator. And was fun to watch while at WV, albeit annoyed he wasn’t still a Gator. And was always a big fan of the pro-style offense. Good luck to him in the NFL.

  10. if hes not holding back, why should i, a former fan of his? i will, as lawyers say (my wife is one, known around the house as ms. veto), stipulate everything he says is true, no argument. the issue with me is what wasnt said. if a kid uses steroids, and gains an advantage, then what about when the steroid goes off. what happens to the advantage? how does he stay elite? how do you know he is off of it, with testing having a smaller budget than doping. ask buck showalter, the manager for the orioles, about the steroids wearing off for chris davis. it always happens at the worst possible time. whatever anyone wants to say about mac, this sb about grier’s conduct. im glad in the end, we got cdm out of it, but until they declare the steroid the kid took as legal, all he did was take a slot from an honest person to me. maybe he is great, turned his life around, and i am too harsh, ok, in time maybe i will lighten up. but i dont like losing to georgia, and we have fallen behind georgia since his little incident, so once we pass georgia and stay past them all of these lost years, i may lighten up. maybe

  11. Can we put the Grier thing to bed? I was as big a fan of his as anybody. I was really excited because he was ALL IN, as he said. From the moment he verbally committed to his rather unceremonious exit from the program I always thought that had he stayed the program probably wouldn’t have had such a dramatic drop-off. He always propped up Florida to his fellow recruits and seemingly loved it in Gainesville. I wish it could’ve turned out better but it didn’t. Good thing that came out of it was that Mac was eventually fired and Mullen was hired. The program is back on the upswing and Grier is about to make some NFL team happy. I for one will always consider him a Gator b/c I think despite Mac running him off, him leaving or whatever the circumstances were that made him leave he really wanted to be a Gator. I still wish he would’ve had a little more brain power to ask a trainer about taking whatever he took before he took it, but I digress. Now-on to Feliepe, Emory, Kyle, and the other QB recruits coming in. GEAUXXX GATORS!!

    • With the S&C program that was implemented, it makes you wonder if the trainers would’ve actually known whether it was a banned substance. Were they actual trainers or just some every day Joe Schmo’s with a trainer title? It’s well known now that the players were going off on their own to workout, so it’s not surprising at all that this wound up happening to Grier. Hard to blame him for it, with the sh@@ show that was going on behind the scenes and no real guidance in that department. I doubt it would’ve happened if Savage were in charge.

      • Joe, you may right, the KH9, Grier, Calloway, lack of S&C, injuries (this was S&C and poor coaching) looks like from the outside like a institutional lack of control with a inability to develop a program. The first part may have derived from the later. When I (speaking only for myself and what I have read (everything one reads on the internet is true.) and my feelings only.) look at the Mac era we are lucky there wasn’t even more of a debacle than we had. I think Strickland saw the writing on the wall and pulled the cord before the whole program burned in. I somehow feel the feeling was there the year before the meltdown but we did make the SEC Championship and there would have been a lot of backlash had the trigger been pulled then. I remember reading from a lot of posters on here that supported Mac. The pièce de résistance for me was his first press conference in his first year. I had already made my mind up he wasn’t good for us. I still went to the 2 games in Atlanta just didn’t feel he was ever going to get us over the top.

        • You know, 65, Georgia has been to Atlanta a couple of times too, as has yet to get over the top. Now, before anyone lets their emotion trump their logic, I’ll be the first to say that there’s a big difference between Georgia’s teams today and Florida’s team’s of that particular era — but Clemson has gotten over the top twice with lesser recruiting classes. Why? I think quality of coaches and permanency of coaches.

          I think Dan Mullen will get us back to Atlanta by 2021 — possibly sooner — and I’ll bet your paycheck he gets of over the top NLT 2022. What say you?

          • 6 this as you know has been hotly debated, argued etc here. But it is something I was trying to put to words and missed the mark a few weeks ago in a recruiting thread. Some said Clemson recruits to fit his system and the rankings are not reflective of what he recruits. I think if you are among the top 1000 players in the nation that puts you in rarified air as you are in the top % of the available pool and there are statistical means when you fall outside the bell. The top players could then be re-graphed and you would get your 5* etc.. Regardless they are the elite of the class. What you said is why I think you occasionally get a “dud” class that excels and the reason this is considered an anomaly is the class got there with coaching and once that class attains some height the coaches leave for bigger things and the cycle turns down. That is somewhat simplified. But that also goes to permanency in coaching. While my experience is not with football in training I would bet that a team with lesser * ratings with players that “bought in” and had superior coaching could get it done year over year. They players might be there a year or two longer (development) but in my earlier days trained people and often got the ones no one wanted and took them to the top of their game.
            Bottom line UGA has done great with recruiting but KS is not Saban and it shows when it counts. DS has shown he can coach with the best and do it his way. As much as it pains me to say it because he’s in the ACC he has shown what he can do. I think barring any detours we are on track. Regardless of recruiting ratings I think we have a team that can beat UGA (notice I didn’t say will). That depends on how fast/much they develop. We have a leader here now I think we could be there this year to Atlanta but we probably won’t win it. 2121 I think we can win it. Of course there are 13 other teams that think otherwise. But it sure is fun to be looking ahead again.

          • To put it into perspective, there’s over a million kids playing high school football. Chop that number down to total number of seniors playing, obviously I don’t know the exact number so I’ll just say divide it by 4, which gives you a rough estimate of 250,000 seniors playing. Of those 250,000 players, and I’m sure it’s probably even more than that, only 32 earn a 5 star rating from 247. Point being, there’s a lot of players out there that are just as good as a 5 star, but there’s not enough spots to get there or they just don’t travel the camp circuit and get recognized. A lot of them would be 5 stars any other year, Steele being one of them. Some people get a little too hung up on needing a bunch of 5 stars. You load up on a bunch of 4 stars and high 3 stars, and with great coaching and development, you’ll be right there competing with anyone.

          • Joe, if you take normal distribution you know that roughly 125K of those fall below the mean and 125K fall above it. So given that approx 34% will fall between the mean and 1 standard deviation above the mean, approximately 13% will fall between +1SD and +2SD, and about 2.5% will fall between +2SD and +3SD — we could be more precise but this will do for now — then of that group that falls average or above, you could predict that about 85K would be 3 star, about 32K would be 4 star, with about 6250K being 5 star. Roughly speaking. I think that would explain why a bunch of 3 stars get developed into actual 4 (but unrated) stars, and why a bunch of 4 stars get developed in actual (but unrated) 5 stars. Of course, 247 doesn’t use normal Guassian distribution, so the numbers are very skewed in their system. But just based on normal properties, it does totally support your contention. Great coaching and development trumps Star rating — not to say that Star rating is unimportant, but it is not the whole enchilada.

            Now I have a headache, thanks a lot!

      • Statistics always give me a headache – especially when people skew the results to obtain a favoring that will support their narrative. As I age, I realize that there are issues out there that I no longer care about as I did when I was younger. If you think about it, all of this is hypothetical to an extent. It is not until these young men actually play that proves what they are worth…LOL. Now I can’t wait to see what kind of a team we have this year with CDM and staff at the helm…GO GATORS!!!

        • “It is not until these young men actually play that proves what they are worth”.
          — Gator Ed 201901262008Z

          I mean, does it get any more real than that? Coaches use star ratings as an estimate of potential and goodness of fit. It is a tool, not a god unto itself, that when used wisely in conjunction with sound coaching can result sometimes in very amazing results. Or not, but if utilized properly it still reduces the risk in recruiting and makes the gamble in specific personnel less.
          But the proof — is when that player lines up against an SEC offense or defense and then proves or disproves that he belongs there. OK, with a nod to toxic masculinity, proves or disproves that she belongs there…..but the point is still the same.