London announced that redshirt freshman quarterback Phillip Sims, a member of Alabama’s national championship team last season, has decided to transfer to Virginia. Considered the No. 2 pro style quarterback in the country by Rivals.com when he came out of Chesapeake, Va., in 2010, Sims never could grab hold of the starting job during his two years under Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban.
It’s unclear at this point when Sims will become eligible to play for Virginia, but there is a chance he could be available as early as next season. When Sims announced he would be transferring from Alabama, he told reporters it was to be closer to his family, which allows him to apply for a waiver from the NCAA that would give him immediate eligibility.
If the waiver isn’t granted, Sims would need to sit out one season because of NCAA transfer rules.
Sims will have either two or three years of eligibility remaining. It will be interesting to see whether he can unseat rising junior Michael Rocco, who emerged late in the 2011 season as a reliable starter.
In addition to Rocco, the Cavaliers also have rising sophomore David Watford and true freshman Greyson Lambert on the quarterback depth chart already.
Last year the 6-2, 211-pound Sims competed for playing time at Alabama with classmate A.J. McCarron, a battle that went into the season. Sims appeared in eight games, completing 18 of his 28 passes for 163 yards and throwing two interceptions. But McCarron played the final five games of the year, including the Crimson Tide’s 21-0 win over LSU in the BCS title game.
Sims was high school teammates with Virginia running back Perry Jones and wide receiver Tim Scott and the trio helped Oscar Smith win the 2008 AAA Virginia state championship. He compiled a 48-4 overall record, finishing his high school career as Virginia’s career leader in passing yards (10,725) and touchdown passes (119).
“Hopefully he will have a productive career here at U-Va. as his previous accolades have shown,” London said in a school-issued statement.
Sims’s younger brother, Zack, a wide receiver, recently gave a verbal commitment to join Virginia’s 2013 recruiting class.