West Virginia Virginia Tech Football

West Virginia University quarterback Will Grier.

West Virginia University announced Thursday evening that junior quarterback Will Grier will return for his senior season in 2018.

“After much prayer and consultation with my family and coaches, I have decided to return,” Grier said via a WVU press release. “There is still a great deal that I want this team to accomplish and I look forward to helping lead us to success in 2018. I am completely focused and looking forward to building off the success we had this year and want to do even greater things next year. West Virginia is my home, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future here.”

“Will’s decision to return next year certainly makes it a great day for West Virginia football,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen added. “He is a great leader for our program, and I know our fans enjoy watching his talents on the football field. His teammates and the coaching staff are certainly looking forward to his return, and this is positive news for all involved.”

As a junior, Grier had the option to apply for the 2018 NFL draft, but faced competition from what’s been called a “quarterback heavy” field. Among those expected to be taken in the first couple rounds are UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Wyoming’s Josh Allen and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph.

Grier, however, did perform well for the 7-5 Mountaineers before sustaining a broken finger in the last regular season home game against Texas.

He was named the 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year as selected by the league coaches, ESPN.com and the Associated Press. He started 11 games and completed 250-of-388 passes for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns. He has thrown for 300 or more yards in nine games and has had multiple touchdown passes in 10 games.

When the Gazette-Mail asked WVU representative Mike Montoro if Grier has an insurance policy now in place, he replied Thursday night via text the “ink isn’t dried on it, but will be by tomorrow.”

The NCAA offers policies via an “exceptional student-athlete disability insurance program.” If that’s the route Grier chose, such policies protect “against future loss of earnings as a professional athlete due to disabling injury or sickness that may occur during the collegiate career.”

Those policies are available to football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and men’s hockey players that have “demonstrated they have professional potential to be selected in the first two rounds of the draft.” The maximum coverage offered is $10 million.

WVU is playing in the Dec. 26 Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and although Holgorsen hasn’t officially shut Grier down, it’s expected Chris Chugunov will be the quarterback.

In his first season at West Virginia after transferring from Florida, Grier’s top performances were 375 yards and five touchdowns at Baylor, 372 yards and four touchdowns at Kansas State and 371 yards and three touchdowns against Virginia Tech.

Nationally, Grier ranks No. 7 in passing touchdowns and pass efficiency, No. 8 in passing yards per game, No. 9 in points responsible for per game and yards per pass attempt, No. 10 in total offense, No. 11 in points responsible for, No. 13 in completions per game, No. 15 in passing yards, No. 16 in passing yards per completion and No. 20 in completion percentage.

Grier is graduating Friday with a degree in multidisciplinary studies.

Mitch Vingle can be reached at 304-348-4827 or mitchvingle@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter@MitchVingle.