Florida QB Will Grier tests positive for banned substance, suspended for year

BY Bruce Feldman • October 12, 2015

Will Grier, Florida’s starting quarterback, has been suspended for one year due to a violation of NCAA rules.

Grier, a freshman listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, tested positive for a banned substance. 

Sources had previously told FOX Sports of the supension Monday morning before Florida made the announcement.

On Monday afternoon, Florida head coach Jim McElwain said Grier did in fact test positive for a banned substance but called it "an honest mistake" by his QB. McElwain brought Grier up to the podium, where the freshman was very apologetic and said he "took an over-the-counter supplement that had something in it." Grier said he neglected to check with the Florida medical staff.

Grier, who gained 20 pounds in his first 18 months on campus, failed a drug test in the last two weeks. Grier said Monday he took an over-the-counter supplement, but did not specify which one.

Florida plans to appeal the suspension. The eighth-ranked Gators are not facing a forfeiture of wins, and Grier won't lose any eligibility. He will return as a third-year sophomore next October.

Grier was emotional while apologizing for his mistake.

"I really hope people can learn from this, learn from my mistake," he said.

According to NCAA rules, Grier will remain suspended during the appeals process. But he can practice with the team while he's ineligible.

Coach Jim McElwain said Grier made a mistake that could have been avoided by talking to the team's medical staff.

"You and I can both go get it," said McElwain. "Anyone in this room can. Anybody in this country can. The mistake is, and the lesson for whoever out there, make sure -- just like we educate our guys now -- you check with your medical staff before you put anything in your body."

McElwain also did not identify what Grier took.

"Doesn't matter. Cough medicine. You have to know what you're putting in your body. Will admitted he didn't do it. I think that speaks for him. He's not putting it on anybody else. He's a stand-up guy. That's how he played the game and plays the game. He'll be back."

The eighth-ranked Gators (6-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) play at No. 6 LSU (5-0, 3-0) Saturday night, and sophomore Treon Harris will make his first start since the season opener.

Grier and the Gators have been one of the most surprising teams in the country in their first year under McElwain, the former Colorado State coach and Alabama assistant. The Gators already have matched last year's regular-season win total and have a commanding lead in the SEC East race.

Harris will be tasked with helping them stay there.

Harris started the opener and split snaps with Grier in the second week against East Carolina. He has not thrown a pass since. He is 19 for 27 for 269 yards and two touchdowns.

He played nine games as a freshman last season, completing 45 percent of his passes for 1,019 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions.

Grier has started the past five games for Florida and has helped sparked the Gators offense. He’s thrown for 1,204 yards to go with 10 TDs and 3 INTs while completing an SEC-best 66 percent of his passes.

Gridiron Now was the first to report the news of Grier’s suspension.

Bruce Feldman is a senior college football reporter and columnist for FOXSports.com and FS1. He is also a New York Times best-selling author. His new book, “The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks,” came out in October 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB and Facebook.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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