News & Analysis

Will Grier on pace to break PFF deep passing yards record

Nov 4, 2017; Morgantown, WV, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier (7) celebrates after throwing a pass during the first quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia QB Will Grier has had an impressive season for the Mountaineers – consistently grading well en route to a 7-3 record, and hopes for a birth in the Big 12 Championship game still alive. He has finished with a positive grade in all but one game this season, and is currently PFF's second-highest graded quarterback at 92.0 overall.

Grier has hit passes all over the field for West Virginia this season, showing off arm talent to get the ball to nearly every level of the field. He has thrown at least four touchdowns on throws to both left and right of the hashes, and over the middle of the field. Grier, just a redshirt-junior and in his first season on the field for WVU (sat out 2016 after transferring), will have a difficult decision this offseason, to stay in school for another season, or to forgo a last year of eligibility and enter the 2018 NFL draft after his breakout year. He has arguably become one of the most talked about quarterbacks this season.

What has set Grier apart from the rest of the 2017 quarterbacks across the nation, is his ability, and frequency, at which he throws the ball 20-plus yards downfield.

Of quarterbacks with at least 127 total pass attempts this season, only Bowling Green's James Morgan averages a deep pass as frequently as Grier, who is attempting a deep shot on 24.9 percent of his passes. Grier currently has completed 35-of-95 deep shots, but has been subject to 10 of those being dropped by his receivers – most in the nation. 16 of his 35 completions have gone for touchdowns to lead the nation in that regard as well.

With all of his deep shots he has taken, it is no surprise to see that he leads the nation with 1,472 yards on deep passes alone, meaning 42.9 percent of his total passing yards have come on these throws.

WVU QB Will Grier

Grier is on pace, averaging 147.2 deep passing yards per contest, to break the single season PFF College era (2014-present) record for deep passing yards in a season. He needs just 105 yards to tie the record, and with two games to play, seems in all likelihood that he will do so.

He has already outpaced fellow Big 12 quarterbacks Baker Mayfield's 2016 season (which is tied for sixth-best) and Mason Rudolph's 2015 season, while chasing down only Rudolph's last season total of 1,554 and former Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson's 1,577 from 2015,

Grier has been most successful throwing the deep pass down the center of the field, connecting on 20-of-39 deep passes for 809 yards and 10 touchdowns in between the hashes. His 809 deep passing yards down the middle of the field alone are good enough for 12th-most in the country this season.

Nipping at his feet are the aforementioned Mayfield and Rudolph this season, but each sit a comfortable 201 and 222 yards behind Grier in terms of deep passing yards this season, respectively.

In order to break the regular season record, Grier will have to throw for 105 yards over his next two games, in which he takes on a talented, but perhaps overmatched Texas secondary in Week 12, before a seemingly de facto Big 12 Championship game against Oklahoma in Week 13.

Grier's deep pass prowess has not only made him a household name, but a name that will be discussed in depth on whether he should forgo his last year of eligibility at WVU to enter the 2018 NFL draft.

One thing is for certain, stay or go, we won't be mad to keep watching him throw the deep ball.

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