2013 Mr. Football USA – Will Grier
Will Grier and Chris Leak are tied at the hip in a multitude of ways and now the two North Carolina high school quarterback legends share something else in common – they are both Mr. Football USA award winners.
Leak was the national player of the year in 2002 after leading Independence of Charlotte to three straight state titles and set numerous state records, including passing yards and passing touchdowns for a career.
Grier has been chosen today as Mr. Football USA for the 2013 season after leading Davidson Day of Davidson to three straight state titles and surpassing many of Leak’s records, including career TD passes.
It was more than just statistics, of course, that led to Leak’s selection in 2002 and to Grier’s for 2013. Both showed they could compete with the best quarterbacks in the nation and both were heavily recruited. Leak signed with the University of Florida where he led the Gators to the 2007 BCS national title. Grier already is in Gainesville as a recent high school graduate and guess who’s there too as a graduate assistant on the coaching staff? It’s Leak.
Grier won out in voting by a five-member panel of Student Sports’ football experts to become Mr. Football USA. Other players who received significant support were junior quarterback Kyler Murray of Allen, Texas; senior receiver/defensive back Adoree’ Jackson from Serra of Gardena, Calif.; and senior quarterback Mason Rudolph from Northwestern of Rock Hill, S.C. Another North Carolina player who frequently appeared on the weekly Mr. Football USA tracker was running back Elijah Hood from Charlotte Catholic of Charlotte.
In his final prep game – and playing for his father, Chad, Davidson Day’s head coach — Grier completed 32 of 42 passes for 599 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Davidson Day past Harrells Christian of Harrells, N.C., 69-28, in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association Division II championship. As a junior in the same game, Grier passed for 837 yards in a 104-80 win over the same team. That performance is higher than the listed national record but will not be recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations because Davidson Day is not a member of a state association.
For the season, Grier connected on 70 percent of his passes for 4,989 yards and 77 touchdowns. His touchdown total set a North Carolina state record, breaking the mark of 69 that he had as a junior. In addition to the passing, Grier also rushed for 1,252 yards and 13 more scores.
From a career standpoint, Grier didn’t break Leak’s state record for passing yards (14,565 to 15,593) but he did for touchdown passes (195 to 185) and that was in three seasons compared to four for Leak. If Grier’s totals were eligible for the national book, he’d be top five all-time in many categories, including career yards and touchdowns.
Comparing Grier to Leak also has to bring up the level of competition and for that it’s hardly a comparison. Leak’s team at Independence played at the highest level of the NCHSAA while Grier’s team at Davidson Day was strictly small school.
Still, Grier didn’t just sit around looking at statistics. With his father’s guidance (who himself played in college at East Carolina), Grier ventured beyond his comfortable boundaries and worked hard to improve his game. He has a bigger upside than perhaps Leak had moving to the next level due to being 6-foot-3, 185 pounds and last summer he was named to the 2013 Elite 11 at the Elite 11 Finals and The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon.
It’s the combination of dizzying statistics, winning state titles and showing a willingness to compete and get better every day that in the end was the difference for Grier.
Check back for the Student Sports All-Americans this afternoon!
Student Sports FAB 50/National Sports News Service
Mr. Football USA Players of the Year (All-Time List)
2013 – Will Grier (Davidson Day, Davidson, N.C.) QB
2012 – Max Browne (Skyline, Sammamish, Wash.) QB
2011 – Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas) RB
2010 – Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas) RB
2009 – Dillon Baxter (Mission Bay, San Diego, Calif.) RB/LB
2008 – Garrett Gilbert (Lake Travis, Austin, Texas) QB
2007 – Jacory Harris (Northwestern, Miami, Fla.) QB
2006 – Darren Evans (Warren Central, Indianapolis, Ind.) FB
2005 – Matthew Stafford (Highland Park, Dallas, Texas) QB
2004 – Chase Daniel (Carroll, Southlake, Texas) QB
2003 – Jeff Byers (Loveland, Colo.) OL-DL
2002 – Chris Leak (Independence, Charlotte, N.C.) QB
2001 – Vince Young (Madison, Houston, Texas) QB
2000 – Cedric Benson (Robert E. Lee, Midland, Texas) RB
1999 – D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord, Calif.) RB-LB
1998 – J.R. House (Nitro, W. Va.) QB
1997 – Ronald Curry (Hampton, Va.) QB-RB
1996 – Travis Henry (Frostproof, Fla.) RB
1995 – Tim Couch (Leslie County, Hyden, Ky.) QB
1994 – Chris Redman (Male, Louisville, Ky.) QB
1993 – Peyton Manning (Newman, New Orleans, La.) QB
1992 – James Allen (Wynnewood, Okla.) RB
1991 – Steven Davis (Spartanburg, S.C.) RB
1990 – Derrick Brooks (Washington, Pensacola, Fla.) LB
1989 – Robert Smith (Euclid, Ohio) RB
1988 – Terry Kirby (Tabb, Va.) RB
1987 – Carl Pickens (Murphy, N.C.) WR
1986 – Emmitt Smith (Escambia, Pensacola, Fla.) RB
1985 – Jeff George (Warren Central, Indianapolis Ind.) QB
1984 – Andre Rison (Northwestern, Flint, Mich.) WR-DB
1983 – Chris Spielman (Washington, Massillon, Ohio) LB
1982 – Rod Woodson (Snider, Fort Wayne, Ind.) WR-DB
1981 – Marcus Dupree (Philadelphia, Miss.) RB
1980 – Bill Fralic (Penn Hills, Pittsburgh, Pa.) OL
1979 – Herschel Walker (Johnson County, Wrightsville, Ga.) RB
1978 – Eric Dickerson (Sealy, Texas) RB
1977 – Marcus Allen (Lincoln, San Diego, Calif.) QB-RB
1976 – Freeman McNeil (Banning, Wilmington, Calif.) RB
1975 – Charles White (San Fernando, Calif.) RB
1974 – Billy Sims (Hooks, Texas) RB
1973 – Earl Campbell (John Tyler, Tyler, Texas) RB
1972 – Tony Dorsett (Hopewell, Aliquippa, Pa.) RB
1971 – Dave Logan (Wheat Ridge, Colo.) WR
1970 – Pat Haden (Bishop Amat, La Puente, Calif.) QB