After transferring from Alabama to Virginia just a over one year ago, Phillip Sims will be finding a new home after being declared ineligible for what various outlets are citing as academic reasons. The rising junior signal caller is the second quarterback that UVa has lost during this offseason, with Michael Rocco already enrolled at Richmond. Virginia Head Coach didn't exactly hold back any punches in his released statement earlier this morning.
"The thing we tell the young men who come to the University of Virginia to receive a world-class education and play for our football program is pretty simple," London said in a statement. "Go to class. Show class and treat people with dignity and respect. Those directions are pretty easy to follow and they will lead you on a path of success."
"When an individual strays from those directions, it is very disappointing to me. Phillip Sims did not make the commitment he needed to succeed here. I appreciate his efforts last season. He is a very talented young man who is blessed with some extraordinary athletic abilities. I still believe Phillip Sims can and will be a successful person. We will do what we can to assist Phillip in continuing his academic and athletic opportunities elsewhere."
Sims appealed the grade in question, which is why the news is just now coming out.— michael phillips (@michaelpRTD) May 31, 2013
Sims played in all 12 games for the Hoos last season, starting 4 of them. Sims was 1-3 as a starter, with the lone victory coming over N.C. State when he and Rocco shared reps throughout the game. The former Oscar Smith star threw for 1263 yards, with 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 2012. The Chesapeake native also rushed for 2 touchdowns last year. ESPN ranked Sims the nation's #1 quarterback for the 2010 recruiting class, when he signed with Alabama.
The pre-spring depth chart this year listed Sims as the 3rd quarterback, behind David Watford and Greyson Lambert. Many found that decision odd, as Sims had a lot more game experience than the other two quarterbacks on the roster. But in spring practice, the coaches clearly gave more reps to Watford and Lambert than Sims. The post-spring depth chart listed all three signal-callers on the same level, with none of them being declared the starter. It was clear however that the chances Sims would be the starter were slim heading into fall camp. Last season, Sims won over a large segment of the Virginia fan base, when he came in off the bench and played pretty well, after starter Michael Rocco had some struggles early on. Sims was never able to carry that momentum over into his time as a starter however, and soon found himself in a battle for playing time with two less experienced, less touted quarterbacks.
With Sims and Rocco gone, that leaves a much more manageable four quarterbacks on the roster for 2013: David Watford, Greyson Lambert, Matt Johns and Brendan Marshall, with 2013 signee Corwin Cutler slated to prep. Many around the program seem to think that David Watford has the inside track to be named the starter at this point.
"The young men who remain with this football program are committed and have done a great job in the classroom, in the weight room and on the practice fields. Our team spring semester grade point average is the highest it has been in the past 10 years and we understand that for us to be successful on Saturdays in the fall, it will require that everyone involved in the program do what is necessary each and every day to prepare to win."