Will Grier details banned substance he took, McElwain pushing him to leave Florida
It was a year ago this week that Florida announced the yearlong suspension of redshirt freshman Will Grier after he tested positive for taking a banned substance. The young quarterback had helped lead the Gators to a 6-0 mark after throwing for 1,202 yards, 12 touchdowns and only two interceptions during the first half of the season.
Of course, the Gators’ offense took a nosedive following his departure and the team suffered overall, going 4-4 to finish out the season. The offense managed to score only 24 total points in the final three games against Florida State, Alabama and Michigan. The woes of the offense understandably fell on Grier’s replacement, Treon Harris, who failed to get the offense going nearly as well as Grier.
Grier ultimately left the program amidst rumors that he and his father demanded his spot reserved, something the quarterback vehemently denies. Grier also claims the stories of his weight gain were overly exaggerated – Grier claims he gained 22 pounds in one year, not 40.
In a story detailed by Bleacher Report, Grier claims he took a substance called Ligandrol, which he obtained from a Gainesville nutritional store named Total Nutrition. Grier says he would often buy protein at the store and was persuaded to buy the Ligandrol from an employee.
Grier researched the safety of the substance and checked for it on the NCAA’s banned substance list but admits his mistake was not getting it cleared by the Florida training staff before taking it. The Ligandrol was not listed on the NCAA’s banned substance list but is still considered a banned substance.
In the story, Grier had some strong statements on his decision to leave the program, which he claims was Jim McElwain’s decision:
I read in stories that I left the team, that it was my decision. It wasn’t. Coach McElwain was telling the media that I was eligible to practice with the team, while telling me I didn’t need to be around the team at this time.
It should be noted that Grier was not recruited by McElwain but by his predecessor Will Muschamp. Following his suspension, it was made clear to Grier that McElwain was ready to move on:
After I came back, my dad and I had a meeting with Coach McElwain in November to discuss the future. The meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m., and two hours later, Coach McElwain shows up. He was out recruiting (quarterback) Feleipe Franks.
I kept asking him what I could do to make it work there. He finally ended up saying, “Maybe a fresh start isn’t the worst thing.” He said that, and I said, “So I guess that’s the move.”
Soon after leaving Florida, Grier transferred to West Virginia, where he is not eligible to play until six games have passed in the 2017 season. Grier is currently appealing that decision in hopes of being able to play at the beginning of the 2017 season.