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Will Grier’s Case for a Heisman

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It started the day he announced he was coming to West Virginia. On April 6, 2016, we all scanned the internet for highlight videos of Will Grier.

After throwing for over 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns in only 6 games as a Florida Gator, the expectations boiled over in Morgantown. It had been some time since a quarterback of Grier’s caliber was under center for the Mountaineers, and before the once 4-star recruit stepped foot onto campus, he was pegged as being the savior of the quarterback position for Dana Holgorsen. Through 7 games and almost 2,500 passing yards and a nation-leading 26 touchdowns, Gier has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

And he is. But few people know that.

In a conference with names such as Baker Mayfield and Kenny Hill, it’s Grier’s that is being tossed around as Big XII’s best. Pro Football Focus listed him as the No. 2 quarterback in the country, and he’s already penciled his name in some West Virginia’s record books.

But why does it stop there?

Why is Will Grier not mentioned as a legitimate Heisman candidate?

If you make your way over to ESPN, you’ll see that Grier did, in fact, receive one fifth-place vote in their latest Heisman polls. His name made the list, but that’s it. One voter see’s the light, but no one is talking about him as a serious contender.

Instead, Baker Mayfield (19 TDs, 2,300+ yards), 2016 Heisman winner Lamar Jackson (3,000+ total yards, 27 total TDs), and Mason Rudolph (2,600+ yards, 19 TDs) dominate the headlines and the Heisman conversation. Grier’s statistics match or surpass those of his peers, yet he is on the outside looking in.

On Saturday evening, Grier became the first quarterback West Virginia to throw 5 touchdowns in consecutive games. His 397 yards against Baylor bumped into the top-10 in that category. His 26 touchdowns lead the nation. And at his current rate, Grier is on pace to break Geno Smith’s single-season records for passing yards (4,385) and touchdowns (42) set in 2012 — the same year Smith was pegged as a Heisman favorite just 5 games into the season.

When you compare Grier’s stat line to those of recent Heisman winners, the movement grows stronger. In 2013, Florida State’s Jamies Winston claimed the coveted Heisman trophy after throwing for less than 4,000 yards and only 25 touchdowns. In 2014, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota amassed over 5,000 total yards (4,454 passing) and 57 total touchdowns (42 passing) during his campaign for the Heisman.

For West Virginia fans, it’s easy to see.

It’s time for the rest of the country to take notice.

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Graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BA in English and minor in journalism. Born and raised in Huntington, WV before moving to Johnson City, TN to attend school. Now married and rooted in Bristol, TN. Follow Matt on Twitter @MattAlbrightGBZ

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