Phillip Sims Granted Waiver, Eligible to Play for UVA Football Immediately

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IJuly 11, 2012

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 3:  Quarterback Phillip Sims #14 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the game with the Kent State Golden Flashes on September 3, 2011 at Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Alabama defeated Kent State 48-7.  (Photo by Greg McWilliams/Getty Images)
Greg McWilliams/Getty Images

The biggest question mark heading into Virginia football this season was not about the secondary or how the running game was going to divvy up carries.

No, it was whether Phillip Sims, former Alabama quarterback and one of the top prospects just a few seasons ago, would have to sit out a year when he decided to transfer to the Cavaliers.

Sims, a Virginia Beach product, requested a special hardship waiver to play closer to home and no one knew exactly when the rising sophomore would hear back from the NCAA. After all, every day a decision was delayed was another day where Sims would be falling behind in a potential quarterback arms race.

Well, strike up the controversy because the news is in and Sims is eligible to play, starting now as reported by Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post.

What once seemed like one of the most certain positions on the roster in the beginning of 2012 will now be one of the most contentious as incumbent starter Michael Rocco must fend off the versatile, strong-armed Sims.

Virginia fans have to be wowed by the talent and potential of young Sims, but there seems to be a fair amount of consternation as well. Sims provides instability to the most valuable position on the field.

Cavalier faithful remember the struggles the team had early in 2012 when coach Mike London played quarterback roulette between Rocco and then true freshman David Watford.

The result was a haphazard mess that hurt the continuity on offense, not to mention the confidence of both players.

Why would London want to open up fresh wounds and repeat mistakes from the past?

The answer may lie in Sims and his overall talent. After all, every scout and Alabama fan will tell you the arm strength and fearlessness the young man plays with.

He may be one of the top-rated blue chippers to come to Virginia in quite some time and potentially changes the landscape of the program in 2012.

Still, he will have a steep learning curve.

It is Rocco who has established a rapport with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. Not to mention that either option must deal with a depleted secondary and offensive weapons that are not exactly the same caliber as Alabama's.

Nonetheless, Sims wins a personal victory today as he gets a chance to prove to his critics, concerned fans and perhaps the entire ACC that he is the man to get the job done.

After all, Virginia Tech fans are not exactly shaking in their boots. Many message boards in Blacksburg simply proclaim that Sims is no Logan Thomas.

Can Sims put the teams heightened expectations on his shoulders and carry Virginia to new heights in the 21st century?

If so, it began with tonight's decision.