Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Suspended Florida quarterback Will Grier is looking for a new place to play.
The 19th-ranked Gators announced Saturday that Grier has decided to transfer, saying the redshirt freshman has opted to move on amid a yearlong suspension for violating the NCAA's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
"Will came to me about exploring his options to transfer," coach Jim McElwain said. "We will support 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 there for him as will all Gators."
Grier was suspended in October for a one year by the NCAA for testing positive for PEDs. He appealed, but the NCAA upheld the suspension.
Grier played in six games this season, starting five of them, and completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,204 yards, with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. The Gators haven't been nearly as effective on offense since sophomore Treon Harris took over.
Florida (10-3) still managed to win the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division, but lost to Alabama in the title game. The Gators next play No. 17 Michigan in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 in Orlando.
Grier had been expected to rejoin the team Jan. 5. He was on campus earlier this week, taking exams. He also spoke to McElwain about his future.
Grier is the sixth quarterback to transfer from Florida in the last three years, following Jacoby Brissett, Tyler Murphy, Max Staver, Jeff Driskel and Skyler Mornhinweg out the door.
Without him, the Gators will be left with Harris and former Alabama and Oregon State quarterback Luke Del Rio on the roster in 2016. The Gators also have verbal commitments from Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, both of whom are expected to enroll at Florida next month and be eligible to play next fall.
Although it might seem like Harris would be penciled in for the starting job, the Gators surely have seen enough of him to give Del Rio and others a long look.
Harris has completed 52 percent of his passes for 1,530 yards in 11 games, with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He was mostly ineffective down the stretch, throwing for a combined 421 yards against Florida Atlantic, Florida State and Alabama. He also was sacked 15 times in those games.
The Gators were considerably better with Grier leading the offense.
Now, Grier will play elsewhere. If he goes to another Football Bowl Subdivision team, Grier would have to sit out one year under NCAA transfer rules and would be a fourth-year junior when he's eligible to play.
He also is the latest quarterback to leave the Southeastern Conference, following Georgia's Faton Bauta (Colorado State), Kentucky's Patrick Towles (Boston College) and Texas A&M's Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. It's also unclear whether Maty Mauk remains at Missouri.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org