Continuing on with our 100 day countdown to WVU’s season opener against the Alabama Crimson Tide, we have reached day 6, the number once worn by WVU linebacker, Grant Wiley.
Originally from Trappe, PA, Wiley was a four-year member of the WVU football program, from 2000 to 2003. During his Mountaineer career, Wiley made 47 career appearances (44 starts) for West Virginia. In those contests, Wiley registered 492 career tackles, nine sacks, nine forced fumbles, and eight interceptions.
Wiley finished his career as the school’s all-time leader in career tackles, breaking Darryl Talley’s original mark of 483 in the 2003. Wiley is one of six Mountaineers in program history to have at least reached the 400 mark in career tackles, and remains the closest to the 500 mark. He appeared in three bowl games during his time at the school, and was a two-time, first team, all-Big East selection his junior and senior seasons.
As a freshman, Wiley played and started in all 12 games for the Mountaineers as he recorded 94 tackles, three sacks, and three interceptions over the course of the season. Wiley was even able to return two of his three interceptions on the year for touchdowns in home wins against Boston College and Idaho. The Mountaineers finished the year with a record of 7-5 overall as they defeated Ole Miss 49-38 in the 2000 Music City Bowl. The bowl win not only ended an eight game bowl losing streak for the school, but it also sent legendary Mountaineer coach, Don Nehlen, out of his 21 year WVU career with a win.
During his sophomore season, Wiley and his Mountaineer teammates all suffered through a brutal set back as they finished the year with a 3-8 record under the leadership of first year WVU head coach, Rich Rodriguez. Wiley missed two games early in the season due to injury, but was able to rebound with 98 tackles, two sacks, and an interception on the campaign.
The following year saw the 6’1”, 235 pound defensive stalwart help the Mountaineers get back to their winning ways as he recorded 133 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions over the course of the 2002 campaign. Wiley’s most memorable play of his career came in a late season, prime-time road game in Blacksburg against the #12 ranked Virginia Tech Hookies.
With the Mountaineers ahead by five points late in the fourth quarter, the Hookies had four shots to put the ball in the end zone while stationed deep in WVU territory. On a fourth and goal situation, all-conference running back Lee Suggs received the hand-off, only to be met by Wiley just inches short of the goal line. The Mountaineers went on to win the game 21-18 following a last second interception by Brian King on another goal to go situation for the Hookies. The play will forever be remembered in West Virginia football lure as the team snapped a four game losing streak to their border rivals with the victory.
The Mountaineers finished the 2002 campaign with a record of 9-4 overall following a season ending 48-22 loss to Virginia in the Continental Tire Bowl. Wiley was recognized for his on field efforts over the course of the season with a first team, all-Big East selection at year’s end.
In his final season sporting the old Gold and Blue, Wiley went out with a bang his recorded a career-best 167 tackles, along with seven forced fumbles, two interceptions, and a sack. The Mountaineers captured the school’s first share of a Big East Conference title since 1993 when they finished the regular season with a 6-1 record in conference play. West Virginia finished the campaign with a record of 8-5 overall following a season ending 41-7 loss to Maryland in the 2004 Toyota Gator Bowl.
Wiley was recognized by both the Big East Conference, and several national media outlets for his on-field efforts. He earned a second consecutive first team, all-Big East selection, and was a consensus, first team, All-American selection following the conclusion of the 2003 campaign.
Grant Wiley went on to graduate from West Virginia University in the spring of 2004. Following his graduation from the school, Wiley went on to pursue a career in professional football as he went on to sign with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2004.
Wiley would never play a down of professional football as he sustained a severe shoulder injury during training camp. He would stay on with the organization for a year before abandoning his dreams of playing in the league altogether in August of 2005. Wiley dropped 60 pounds, and went on to pursue a career in acting as he took acting classes at the William Esper Studio in New York City.
Currently, Wiley still resides in New York, and while attending the William Esper school, he was able to build a rapport with Comedy Central television star/stand-up comedian, Amy Schumer. Wiley made several appearances on Schumer’s hit sitcom Inside Amy Schumer, and has received acting credits for appearances in other popular programs like All My Children, Damages, Sex and the City, and The Wire.
All countdown profiles of numbers 100-7 are still available here at WVUPros.com