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Quarterback Will Grier threw for more than 14,000 career yards at Davidson (N.C.) Day.

Wednesday February 12, 2014Grier Settles in at UF after Personal Victory Parade

Quarterback Will Grier threw for more than 14,000 career yards at Davidson (N.C.) Day.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

Freshman quarterback Will Grier is on campus as one of the Gators' early enrollees.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Will Grier was in New York last week to be honored as Parade Magazine’s National Player of the Year.

He mingled with former Gators Jack Youngblood and Emmitt Smith. He met other former Parade All-Americans and NFL Hall of Famers. For the Florida freshman quarterback, life has resembled a victory parade of late.

Grier led Davidson (N.C.) Day to a third consecutive state championship in November. He graduated high school in December. He enrolled at UF in January. Along the way, Grier earned all kinds of awards for his record-setting prep career.

“Those are just amazing experiences that I’m blessed to be a part of,’’ Grier said. “It’s a great honor to be able to go places like that and share and get to meet legends of the game. Those are once-in-a-lifetime things that came from hard work and a lot of preparation.”

Grier is among the Gators’ nine early enrollees and certainly the most publicized as one of the nation’s top prep quarterbacks. The son of a college quarterback – his father Chad played at Richmond and East Carolina – Grier began to blossom as a hot prospect his sophomore season of high school.

Will Grier

The first recruiting letters came mostly from schools close to Grier’s hometown where his exploits on the field garnered headlines in the local media. North Carolina, Duke, N.C. State and East Carolina were the first schools to offer Grier a scholarship.

The new-found attention motivated Grier.

“When I got those it kind of motivated me to get better,’’ he said. “I just worked harder and got some bigger offers. Once I got those offers and started competing against guys older than me and started to see where I was at … I kind of knew [I could play at a school like Florida].

“I used that as motivation and fuel to get where I am now. I’ve just got to keep going.”

Grier put up mind-boggling numbers at Davidson Day, where he finished his career with 14,565 career passing yards, second in the national high school record books to former Gators quarterback Chris Leak (15,593 yards).

The game he gets asked about most often is a playoff game his junior season. Grier threw for 837 yards – a national prep record – and 10 touchdowns passes.

The only task the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Grier struggled with in high school was extra-points. As the team’s kicker, Grier missed nearly as many as he made. But when you throw 77 touchdown passes as a senior, PATs tend not to be that important.

“I just had fun in high school,’’ Grier said. “That [10-touchdown game] was a fun game and all the state championships. We won all three so it was obviously good times.”

In his short time at UF Grier has focused on what it will take to succeed at the collegiate level. He didn’t face any SEC defenses at Davidson Day.

Grier said he wanted to graduate high school early so he could come in and get a head start on spring practice. Grier understands the expectations and embraces them, relying on advice his dad – also his high school coach – gave him before leaving home.

“Take care of school, work hard, don’t worry about politics, just develop and do your best and things will fall into place if you do those things right,’’ Grier said. “To come in and get on your feet in January is such an advantage in school and football. I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

 

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