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Suspended QB Will Grier will transfer from Florida

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(AP)

Still serving a suspension for using a banned substance, Gators quarterback Will Grier has decided to transfer from the University of Florida for what Head Coach Jim McElwain calls a “fresh start.”

Here’s the official comment from McElwain.

"Will came to me about exploring his options to transfer.  We will support him and help him in any way we can.  This has been very difficult on him and obviously he is looking for a fresh start.  We will always be here for him as will all Gators."

Grier shared time at quarterback with Treon Harris in the first two games of the 2015 season before taking the starting job and helping Florida to an undefeated record.  His TD pass at home near the end of the game against Tennessee was one of the highlights of the Gators season. 

The NCAA issued a suspension for one year, carrying into the 2016 season when it said Grier tested positive for a banned substance.  Grier admitted to taking the over the counter supplement to aid in weight gain but said he didn’t know it was against the NCAA regulations and didn’t check with the Florida training staff before taking it.

Both the University of Florida and Grier appealed to the NCAA to reduce the ban to include the rest of the 2015 season and allow Grier to be eligible to play at the beginning of the 2016 season but the appeal was denied.  Although ineligible to play, McElwain had said this week that Grier would rejoin the Gators football team on January 4th, right after Florida’s bowl appearance.

But this week, Grier apparently met with the coaching staff and decided he would transfer.  His options include going to another NCAA FBS School (Division I) and serving his suspension while sitting out the required year for transfers and being eligible to begin play in 2017.  Or he could play in a non-NCAA or junior college program in 2016 and be eligible to play in Division I again in 2017.  Cam Newton took this route after leaving Florida and ending up at Auburn, leading the Tigers to a National Championship.

Florida has struggled on offense since Grier’s departure with Harris at quarterback.  Luke Del Rio, a transfer to Florida would also be eligible to play next year.  McElwain has been careful not to criticize Harris knowing he might have to use him at quarterback in 2016 if Del Rio or a true freshman can’t win the job.

The Gators have lost their last two games against Florida State and Alabama and will face Michigan on New Year’s Day.