Phillip Sims: Alabama QB Rumored to Be Going to Virginia

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IApril 27, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Mike London of the Virginia Cavaliers directs his team during warmups prior to facing the Auburn Tigers in the 2011 Chick Fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We have all heard of Phil Sims the quarterback. His own children have had their opportunities to play in the NFL as well.

So when Virginia fans hear the name, they have to be a bit confused when it concerns their football program in 2013.

This Phillip Sims may not be as well known, but he was highly touted in his own regard. The Chesapeake, VA native was the second highest rated player in the Commonwealth, and the second-best quarterback in the 2010 class, according to both Rivals and Scout.

So it is little wonder that a talent that tremendous would go to a place where talent is the norm—Alabama. Sims picked the Crimson Tide over 11 other schools and looked to be well on his way toward greatness.

So no wonder people are shaking their heads at the rumor that Phillip Sims is leaving one of the preeminent college football programs in modern college football history to go to the Virginia Cavaliers.

Daniel Sheridan of USA Today reported numerous times earlier this week that Phillip Sims is likely transferring from Alabama to Virginia. 

While it was originally under-reported, news today came that Sims has officially received his letter to leave Alabama and look elsewhere. This makes the rumor look far more interesting, especially if his main goal is to play closer to home.

Sims played in eight games last season for the Tide, mostly in mop-up duty. He only managed 164 yards and two interceptions, never completing a pass of more than 19 yards.

Still, Virginia will not complain. Sims has the potential to be one of the great talents in recent Cavalier history if this report is true.

Sims is not only athletically gifted at 6'2'', 211 lbs. but a proven winner. In four years at Oscar Smith High he went 48-4 and captured four Southeastern Districts while compiling 119 total touchdowns.

That sort of athletic explosiveness cannot help but excite Virginia fans. So why is the reaction so tepid?

The answer is simple: the most powerful position in football has become unexpectedly crowded for the Cavaliers. Virginia expects to have five scholarship quarterbacks, not including Sims, when August training camp begins. 

This creates an interesting quandary. We all know that quarterback is the most important position in football, but having so many sit on the bench and eat up scholarships can create a "too many cooks in the kitchen" situation.

After all, we know the old saying that if you have two quarterbacks you really have none. Imagine how many you have if there are five?

Virginia's current starter, Michael Rocco, learned this lesson the hard way. Early last season he was pressed by true freshman David Watford. The random switching back and forth hurt the continuity on offense, not to mention the confidence of both quarterbacks.

Instead of competition bringing out the best in them, it brought out the worse. In late October, after an ugly overtime victory over Idaho, coach Mike London gave Rocco the vote of confidence and his play soared the rest of the season.

That vote of confidence propelled Rocco and the Cavalier season. Now the future seems far more unsettled.

Is David Watford the future of Virginia football? What about the strong-armed Greyson Lambert who wowed scouts?

Now we have another candidate in Sims potentially.

Can any of these players switch positions? Are they willing to?

Sims coming to Virginia is a huge potential statement. It puts the Cavalier brand on the map like it has not been before. Sims is from Oscar Smith High, the same school where 4-star recruit Zack Jones, who just committed to Virginia earlier this week, is from.

The Virginia Beach area has been kind to Coach London, and this transfer of Sims could make the biggest splash of all.

However, that is the thing about big splashes—they leave a mark.

Virginia football will be changed by this move, if it indeed happens. That may result in some casualties but the risk should be worth taking.


Update: It is official. From Kirk McNair and

The University announced Friday that Sims, an upcoming third year sophomore, has decided to transfer following the completion of the spring academic semester.

“This was a very difficult decision because I’ve had a great experience at The University of Alabama and I’m thankful for the opportunity this program provided me,” said Sims in a statement released by the athletics department. “I want to thank Coach Saban and the coaching staff for being with me and my family at this time. I wouldn’t change anything about my decision to come to Alabama and this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life

"The reason for me leaving is nothing more than a personal matter. I just need to be closer to home to support my family at this time and that needs to be my priority right now. I would still like to continue my football career, and hopefully I can do that and also be there for my family.”