by Jim Buzzerd
When West Virginia University quarterback Will Grier ran off the field with a badly mangled finger early in the Texas game last November, many West Virginia fans thought they may had seen the last of Grier in a Mountaineer uniform. Grier’s debut at WVU began with a loss to Virginia Tech last September, but he proceeded to turn heads all season with his passing numbers. So much so that he was considered to be a second or third round possibility in the NFL draft.
I won’t pretend to know how Grier was looking at his draft situation, but the fact the recent draft had five, possibly six, quarterbacks ranked higher than him may have played a role in his decision. By all accounts his finger was well enough to go forward. Now Grier will return for his final college football season rated the best returning quarterback by many, and in the top three by virtually all.
Grier and his favorite target from a year ago, David Sills, are showing up on various pre-season All America lists.
According to Lindy’s magazine, ‘If anyone is going to challenge Oklahoma for Big 12 supremacy this year, it’s WVU. The Mountaineers are the only team in the league to bring back last year’s full-time starting quarterback (Grier) ,and this conference is won by standout QBs. Three of last year’s top four receivers – including David Sills V and his nation-leading 18 touchdown catches – are back as targets.
Lindy’s mentions both Sills and Grier by name in their rankings capsules, and they back it up by naming the receiver and quarterback tops at their respective position groups in the entire nation. For Grier, the argument was extensive, but included this point about past improvement from quarterbacks heading into their second year as a starter under Dana Holgorsen.
Lindy’s also ranked senior wide receiver Gary Jennings as the No. 15 wideout in the entire country, making West Virginia the only team in the country with multiple wideouts in the top fifteen.
There will be much more discussion about the huge potential of the WVU offense in the coming weeks. In addition to Sills and Jennings the potentially more explosive Marcus Simms also returns. Simms adds separation to the mix, but found consistency to be a problem at times last season.
The wild card at receiver is Alabama receiver T.J. Simmons. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see what he does on the field this fall, but the 6-2,200 Simmons will be the highest rated wide receiver on the team based on their ratings coming out of high school.
As an aside, the only thing keeping Sills, Simmons, and Simms from appearing consecutively on the alphabetical roster is walk-on kicker Skyler Simcox.