Will Grier to transfer out of Florida

Why did Grier decide to leave Florida? (0:40)

Danny Kanell and Ricky Williams break down why Will Grier decided to transfer from Florida. (0:40)

Quarterback Will Grier will transfer from Florida, the school announced Saturday.

"Will came to me about exploring his options to transfer. We will support him and help him in anyway we can," coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. "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, a redshirt freshman, was suspended Oct. 12 after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and lost the appeal of his one-year suspension in November. He would not have been eligible to return until Florida's seventh game of the 2016 season, against Missouri on Oct. 15.

Until his suspension, Grier had been a breath of fresh air for Florida. He became the first Gators quarterback since Tim Tebow in 2009 to pass for more than 200 yards in three consecutive games. Grier's completion percentage, passing yards per game and touchdown-to-interception ratio also were the best by a Gator since 2009.

In all, 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.

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 past 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 Treon 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 as though 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 was sacked 15 times in those games.

Florida (10-3) still managed to win the SEC East but lost to Alabama in the title game. No. 19 Florida ends its 2015 season Jan. 1 against No. 14 Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl.

The Gators were considerably better with Grier leading the offense. Now he will play elsewhere.

If Grier goes to another FBS team, he would have to sit out one year under NCAA transfer rules and would be a fourth-year junior when he is eligible to play.

He also is the latest quarterback to leave the SEC, following Georgia's Faton Bauta (Colorado State), Kentucky's Patrick Towles (Boston College), Ole Miss' DeVante Kincade and Texas A&M's Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray. It's also unclear whether Maty Mauk will remain at Missouri.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.