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West Virginia quarterback Will Grier will skip bowl game to focus on NFL draft

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier will not play in the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse on Dec. 28 to focus on preparing for April’s NFL draft, the senior signal caller announced Saturday in a tweet.

“After discussions with Jeanne [Grier’s wife] and my family, and after receiving professional interest, I have decided not to participate in our upcoming bowl game,” he wrote in a statement, “and focus on preparing myself and my family for what I hope is the next step in our journey.”

Grier is part of a growing trend of surefire NFL draft prospects sitting out bowl appearances to preserve their health. Current NFL stars Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette skipped postseason games at the end their college careers. Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver is perhaps the most high-profile 2019 draft prospect who has decided not to play in a bowl game this season. More than a dozen players have announced they will skip their teams’ postseason games.

Grier is projected as the fourth-ranked quarterback in the 2019 draft class, according to CBS, behind Oregon’s Justin Hebert, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Duke’s Daniel Jones. He is the No. 41 prospect overall. Pro Football Focus’s latest mock draft projects Grier to be taken with the No. 29 overall pick by the New England Patriots, who will be in the market for a replacement for the 41-year-old Tom Brady.

“Will and I spoke at length about the bowl game, and I am fully supportive of his decision to begin preparing for the NFL draft,” Mountaineers Coach Dana Holgorsen said in a statement. “While we will miss him in Orlando, Will’s commitment and service to WVU Football over the last three years will be talked about for many years to come. He led us with class, hard work and a willingness to learn, and set a high standard for his teammates.”

In two years with the Mountaineers, after transferring from Florida, Grier completed 516 of 785 passes for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns.

Miami transfer sophomore Jack Allison will start in place of Grier, a one-time Heisman Trophy contender who also was a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Manning Award and Walter Camp Football Foundation player of the year, among other honors. Allison has seen action in six games and completed 6 of 10 passes for 75 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

West Virginia will also be without starting tackle Yodny Cajuste, who said Friday he would skip the bowl game to prepare for the draft.

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