by Cliff Mehrtens

DAVIDSON – The spotlight didn’t land on Will Grier for the first time last week. It only grew brighter.

Grier, Davidson Day’s junior quarterback, set a national record by passing for 837 yards in a 104-80 playoff victory against Harrells Christian. He tied a national mark with 10 touchdown passes.

“I played like I always do,” Grier said. “I’ve never been in a game where we’ve scored that much. We were playing to win, they kept scoring and we had to respond.”

Grier’s dizzying numbers drew attention from national media outlets last weekend. But it was hardly the first time Grier had an eye-opening game this season.

Twice he’s thrown for eight touchdowns in a game. Grier has a seven-touchdown game and two six-touchdown games.

Four times he’s surpassed 400 passing yards. Twice he topped 500 yards. Those gaudy numbers paled to the 837 on Nov. 9.

As dizzying as Grier’s statistics are – he leads the nation in passing yards (5,294), touchdown passes (64), completion percentage (.787) and yards per game (441.2) – he doesn’t pay attention to them.

“I’m not a stats guy,” Grier said. “I have amazing support. My offensive line has played amazing all season. Obviously, we have great weapons who can help get crazy numbers. Our receivers can turn a 5-yard hitch (pattern) into 30 yards after the catch. My numbers are not an individual effort. They might look good, but it’s definitely a team effort.”

Grier is a fixture on college recruiting lists. He’s ranked sixth nationally by two recruiting services among junior quarterbacks.

He has offers from Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Wake Forest, East Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette. Dozens of others likely will follow. And the epic 837-yard, 10-touchdown performance may add some latecomers to the courtship.

When you’re 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, with a rifle arm, dancer’s footwork and crisp understanding of how passing offenses work, recruiters notice. Quickly.

As a sophomore last year, Grier passed for 3,785 yards and 49 touchdowns. A slew of college coaches navigated the two traffic circles near campus for off-season visits.

“Will is very smart,” said Davidson Day receiver Aaron Seward (24 touchdown catches this season). “He gets the ball to the right places at the right times. You can run the right route and get open, but you have to have a quarterback get the ball to you. I’m glad we have Will.”

As fast-paced as Davidson Day’s offense may appear, Grier takes a slower tact with recruiting. He’ll jump into the decision in earnest after the season, which ends Nov. 16 in the state final at 6 p.m. at Arden Christ School.

“I’ve been focusing on this season,” he said. “Obviously it’s a big decision. It will take a lot of talking and praying. Right now, I’m focusing on my academics, because that’s what’s going to carry me through life.”

Grier said he wants to choose a college, and make a verbal commitment, by the spring. But it could come to him any time between now and then.

“When it feels right, I’ll run with it,” he said. “Right now I’m not sure and I haven’t narrowed things down too much.”

Chad Grier, Davidson Day’s coach and Will’s father, traces the recent success to Will’s work in the off-season.

“We spent a lot of time together on the mental side of his game,” Chad Grier said. “We talked for hours when taking recruiting and camp trips about footwork, poise in the pocket, taking what the defense was designed to give up, etc. He worked on those things during 7-on-7’s this summer and his Friday night habits have reflected that. The results from a numbers perspective have been staggering.”

The young signal-caller said he isn’t bothered by the spotlight, whether on the field or walking around school. He hangs out with teammates often, and there’s no pecking order.

“I’m a team guy,” he said. “My team is what got me here. They’re my friends. We push each other to be great. We all treat each other equally. Nobody’s bigger than the team.”

The Patriots, in their second varsity season, this week can win their second state title.

“This season’s been more than fun,” Will Grier said. “It’s the bond we (players) have and we have a good time with it. I couldn’t have asked for a better season. I’m confident we’ll play the way we have all season. I’ve been blessed with a great opportunity.”