Perhaps it’s only a coincidence that on West Virginia’s birthday the NCAA officially gave Will Grier
full clearance to participate in WVU’s season opener against Virginia Tech on Sunday, Sept. 3 in Landover, Maryland.
Or, maybe it’s not.
For Mountaineer football fans, having Grier available under center against the Hokies could possibly be the biggest thing to hit these parts since Francis H. Pierpont was chosen governor of the “Restored Government of Virginia” on this day 156 years ago in 1861, or, two years later, when “Almost Heaven” was formally admitted into what was to become the No. 1 Power Conference in the world - the good, ol’ US of A!
I guess it’s also fitting that West Virginia will be having Will coming out of its Trojan horse first when the Mountaineers play their rivals from the Old Dominion later this summer.
What WVU is getting in Mr. Grier is perhaps its most polished pocket passer since Geno Smith tore up the Big 12 in 2012 - when, coincidentally, Jake Spavital was still involved with Dana Holgorsen’s offense.
Now, not so coincidentally, Mr. Spavital will be calling the plays for Mr. Holgorsen this fall.
Throughout the spring, Holgorsen continued to tell fans not to worry about Grier’s status for the 2017 season opener. The information he was getting from the WVU compliance staff was that the process was moving along and would be resolved by summertime.
Well, that was a little off.
Tomorrow is the first day of summer. What they should have told us was that everything was going to be resolved by West Virginia Day, today, gift wrapped in Old Gold and Blue!
Besides Jay Bilas, who says the NCAA never gets anything right?
So, what can Mountaineer fans expect from Grier?
Well, he’s a natural-born leader, for one. The first thing Grier did when he transferred from Florida was win over the Mountaineer locker room. The guy has a huddle presence about him and a “swag” that all of the good ones seem to possess.
Grier can also spin it. During the occasions the media has been permitted to observe practices, not to mention the Gold-Blue Spring Game, of course, it’s clear Grier can make all of the throws - short, intermediate, long; soft, hard and straight; high or low, you name it, he can throw it.
“His accuracy is outstanding,” Holgorsen beamed after the spring game.
He stands tall in the pocket, meaning when blitzers are coming at him he is tall enough to see what’s happening down the field while he’s moving. He is also nimble enough to elude pressure and take off when he has to.
In fact, he is more than athletic enough to run the zone-read, although I’m not sure the coaches will want to do that too much with him this year.
He’s a hard worker who is committed to being a successful football player.
And, perhaps most importantly (something, by the way, that Holgorsen has always coveted in his quarterbacks going back to his Texas Tech days), Grier is the son of a football coach, which means he’s got moxie.
Moxie is a form of “It” and players either have it or they don’t.
Moxie is completing 15-of-17 passes in your very first college game, as Grier did when he was still wearing a Florida Gators uniform and was facing New Mexico State.
As The Signalcaller, Jed Drenning, once reminded me, completing 15-of-17 passes in skelly is impressive enough, but doing it the very first time you step on a college football field is something else entirely.
“I just like the kid’s demeanor,” Holgorsen noted. “I mean, he’s got complete control of the huddle. He has a really good idea of what we want him to do offensively.”
Oh, and one more thing. Will’s got that slicked-back-hair-flowing-dark-beard thing working well for him - a modern-day Stonewall Jackson with better looks! Plus, unlike old Stonewall, Will ended up picking the right Dominion!
So Mountaineer fans, you can sit back, relax and soak in West Virginia Day today as well as the rest of your summer.
With their starting quarterback now cleared and ready to go, the Mountaineers have some more ammo to take with them on their little turkey hunting excursion over in Maryland in early September.
The question is: will you be joining them?