Grier will be sidelined for, at least, the rest of the season and leaves a gaping hole in a Gators offense that was rolling midway through the season. Florida plays No. 6 LSU on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Florida plans to appeal the NCAA decision.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Grier Will Miss the Rest of the 2015 Season after Failing an NCAA Drug TestAccording to a report by Gridiron Now, Grier will miss the rest of the 2015 season after the redshirt freshman was suspended for a violation of NCAA rules. According to Florida coach Jim McElwain, Grier took an over-the-counter supplement that included a banned NCAA substance.
Grier spoke to the media on Monday afternoon and was nearly overcome by emotion while on the podium, saying:
So, I uh, took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it. And I did not check with the medical staff before taking it. I really hope that people can learn from this, learn from my mistake. I’m really, really sorry to everyone. I’m just really sorry.
McElwain added that Florida was informed about the suspension on Sunday and the team plans to file an appeal.
2. He Put On More Than 40 Pounds During the Offseason
Grier made headlines during the offseason as he packed on the weight and bulked up to 215 pounds after weighing in at 172 as a freshman.
The added weight was reportedly a move to help Grier fight for a starting spot on the Gators roster, battling with Treon Harris for the gig under center. Harris threw for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns while Grier was redshirted. His father, Chad, was pretty pleased with the transformation:
Grier had committed to Florida out of North Carolina’s Davidson Day high school, a four-star recruit who was courted by a handful of the top programs across the country. During his junior year of high school Grier racked up an absolutely incredible 5,785 passing yards and 69 touchdowns – numbers that led the entire country.
3. Grier’s Suspension Will Last a Full Calendar YearGrier’s suspension won’t just last for the remainder of the 2015 season. It’s much more far-reaching than that. According to the NCAA bylaws, the QB will have to remain sidelined for a full calendar year – 365 days – although the Gators can appeal that mandate at the end of the season. Here’s the full rule:
Under Bylaw 126.96.36.199.1, the student-athlete becomes ineligible for all regular season and postseason competition until eligibility is reinstated by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff on behalf of the committee. Pursuant to Bylaw 188.8.131.52.1, requests for reinstatement of eligibility will not be considered until the student-athlete has remained ineligible for a minimum of one calendar year (365 days) after the student-athlete has tested positive for a banned substance and after the student-athlete has been withheld from the equivalent of an NCAA season, the student-athlete retests negative by the NCAA (notice of which is provided to the student-athlete reinstatement staff by The National Center for Drug Free Sport), and the institution submits a request for reinstatement of eligibility via AMA Online.
The suspension is also a lost year of eligibility. The NCAA has yet to make any kind of official comment.
4. He Started the Last Five Games for Florida After a QB Battle
After standing on the sidelines in the first game of the season, Grier was named the Gators starter in Week 2 and has been rolling ever since. He has started the last five games under center for Florida, completing just over 65 percent of his passes and racking up 1,2014 yards.
Grier has tossed 10 touchdowns and thrown just three interceptions. He’s coming off a dominant 21-3 victory over Missouri last week that had plenty of people already crowning Florida as the SEC East champs.
He became the first Florida quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2009 to pass for more than 200 yards in three straight games and his completion percentage, pass yards per game, and TD-Interception ratio is also the best by a Gator since 2009. His completion percentage also ranks first in the SEC.
5. Treon Harris Is Expected to Take Over at QuarterbackWith Grier’s future in a Gator uniform up in the air, fans in the swamp should expect to see the return of Treon Harris on Saturday night.
Harris, who started the first week of the season for Florida, was the team’s offensive leader late in the season last year but the sophomore has also battled his own disciplinary problems.
Harris was suspended for one game earlier this season, missing the matchup against Tennessee, when head coach Jim McElwain announced that he and cornerback Jalen Tabor would not suit up with the squad. McElwain did not give any specific reason for the suspensions only that they were “based on some choices they made.”