Former Alabama quarterback Phillip Sims was granted a waiver from the NCAA and is eligible to play for Virginia in 2012, the school announced on Wednesday.
The former Crimson Tide signal-caller, who lost the starting job in Tuscaloosa to AJ McCarron last fall after redshirting the 2010 season, will not have to sit out the usual required one year, which is usually the case per the NCAA's bylaws. In mostly mop-up duty in 2011, Sims went 18-of-28 passing for 163 yards and two interceptions.
The 6-2, 217-pounder will have three years of eligibility with the Cavaliers.
So what does this mean for Mike London's squad in 2012?
ICONMichael Rocco started all 12 regular season games as well as the Hoos' bowl game in 2011.
Last season, Michael Rocco started all 12 regular season games as well as the Hoos' bowl game, becoming more comfortable under center as the season progressed and helping the team win four straight late in the year to earn a postseason berth for the first time since 2007. He threw for 2,671 yards while completing better than 60 percent of his passes and enters preseason camp as the No. 1 quarterback.
But London loves competition at all positions because it provides motivation, which in turn typically produces better results. And keep in mind that Sims battled McCarron last fall for the right to start for the eventual national champion Crimson Tide. So when camp begins for the Cavs, Rocco will find himself in a dogfight for the starting job. Sophomore dual-threat David Watford will also get a look after splitting time under center with Rocco for part of last year, and true freshman Greyson Lambert has already cracked the quarterback depth chart as well.
In addition to nearly winning the starting job with the Tide last season, Sims arrives in Charlottesville boasting impressive prep credentials. He was one of the highest-rated pro-style quarterbacks nationally in the Class of 2010 after recording a 48-4 record and setting Virginia state records with 10,725 passing yards and 119 touchdowns at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake. The former Parade All-American and local star was a teammate of Cavs running back Perry Jones and wide receiver Tim Scott at Oscar Smith as well.
London has the Hoos trending in the right direction after contending late in the 2011 season for an ACC division title. Even if Rocco impressed as the year went on, there is a lot of room for improvement in his game. The arrival of Sims may speed up that process, which will only help the overall state of the program.
And if Sims happens to outplay Rocco in preseason camp or early in September? Then the Hoos have a real good quarterback “problem” on their hands.
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