At least one media outlet thinks Will Grier should be the favorite for the Heisman Trophy heading into his senior season at West Virginia.
NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread ranked the top 18 Heisman contenders for the 2018 season, and Grier came in at No. 1 overall. He pointed to the Mountaineers’ pass-happy offense, a wide-open Big 12 race and a strong nonconference schedule to explain why Grier’s résumé for the award should be very strong in December.
With Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph cleared out of his path, Grier figures to be the face of the Big 12 this fall. He has a dynamic receiving threat in David Sills V, and the kind of coach in Dana Holgorsen who will air it out with the play calling. It’s been a long road back for Grier since a NCAA suspension at Florida, and subsequent transfer to WVU, froze his career for a season and a half. But he’s primed for a big finish and the WVU schedule includes two Power Five opponents in non-conference play (Tennessee, N.C. State).
Right behind Grier in the rankings were Stanford running back Bryce Love at No. 2 and Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson at No. 3. Grier has been getting buzz as a possible Heisman contender for a while, but this is one of the few times he has been named an outright favorite.
He has the numbers to back it up, completing 64.4 percent of his passes last season for 3,490 yards with 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 11 games. However, he’ll have to win more games than he did last season. Other than Lamar Jackson in 2016 and Robert Griffin III in 2011, every Heisman winner since 2000 has played for a team that won at least 10 games before bowl season.
If Grier can lead West Virginia to 10 wins the Mountaineers probably will be playing in the Big 12 Championship Game and perhaps competing for a playoff spot. In that case, it will be tough to argue against him as a contender for the Heisman.