Former Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA) quarterback Phillip Sims is transferring from the University of Alabama.
“The reason for me leaving is nothing more than a personal matter,” Sims said in a statement released on Friday. “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.”
The University of Virginia could well be his next landing spot. Michael Phillips reports that the 6’2″, 210-pound rising sophomore is applying for a hardship waiver granted to players transferring to be close to home for family reasons. If granted, Sims could transfer to an FBS school close to home and be eligible to play immediately.
In that scenario, he’s likely to join coach Mike London at UVa. – Phillips writes in his report.
Via Twitter, Doug Doughty of the Roanoke Times and Jerry Ratcliffe of the Charlottesville Daily Progress report that UVa has gained permission to talk with Sims.
“UVa source just told me that Virginia is in receipt of a release from Alabama with permission to talk to QB Phillip Sims,” Ratcliffe wrote.
If Sims’ hardship appeal is denied, it would seem highly unlikely that he would transfer to an FBS program. Sims has already used a red-shirt season at Alabama, and if the appeal is denied he would have to sit out a full season should he transfer to an FBS program. He would then only have two years of eligibility remaining, starting in the 2013 season. He would be immediately eligible, though, if he transferred to an FCS school.
Sims was 48-4 in four years as Oscar Smith’s starting quarterback. He threw for 33, 38, and 33 touchdowns in his final three years with the Tigers. His junior season, he threw only four interceptions in addition to the 38 touchdown throws.
A highly recruited prospect out of high school, Sims picked Alabama and enrolled in Tuscaloosa in January of 2010. He red-shirted in 2010. In 2011 he was the backup to A.J. McCarron, who helped the Crimson Tide to a National Championship last season as a red-shirt sophomore. Sims played in eight games this past season, completing 64-percent of his passes while throwing for 163 yards. He had two interceptions.
TheSabre.com attempted to reach Oscar Smith head coach Rich Morgan late this afternoon for further comment, but initial attempts have been unsuccessful.
As it stands, UVa will have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in the 2012 season. Junior Michael Rocco is the starter. Sophomore David Watford, freshman Grayson Lambert (already enrolled) and freshman Matt Johns round out the depth chart. If he indeed comes to Charlottesville (and gets the waiver), Sims would be a sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.
UVa also has gained a commitment from class of 2013 quarterback Brendan Marshall, who attends Good Counsel High School (Olney, MD).