New Quarterback Getting Ahead
Alabama Coach Nick Saban discussed the Crimson Tide's signing class and noted that it was a unique situation for him to have 11 signees enroll early. He said that he didn't encourage or discourage early signees. He said it's good for the Bama football team to have them in early, but he doesn't want any player to make that decision unless he and his family are in total agreement with it.
One of the jewels of the Crimson Tide signing class is Phillip Sims, a 6-2, 224-pound quarterback from Oscar F. Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va. He is a five-star prospect by Scout.com and a Parade All-America. He was ranked the number two overall quarterback in the nation among this year's prospects, and 36th among all prospects.
He was a two-time all-state performer in Virginia's largest high school classification. He finished as Virginia's career leader in passing yards (10,725), touchdown passes (119), and completions (636). He was a four-year starter with a record of 48-4, including a 39-1 record in regular season games. He led his team to the 2008 state championship as he passed for 3,167 yards and 38 touchdowns. He passed for 2,960 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior.
Sims chose Alabama over Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, Clemson and Virginia.
Sims is pleased with his decision to earn his high school graduation credits in time to enter The University for the spring semester.
"It has been great," he said Wednesday afternoon following the completion of ?Alabama prospects signing their scholarship papers. "This situation is as good as you could imagine. You come out here and get to live on your own and do your own thing, but at the same time you remember all the things you were taught at home. Getting to meet new people and be in a new environment has been fun."
Sims said the newcomers have bonded with returning Alabama players.
"You get a chance to get accustomed to life before football season rolls around, before things get really hectic for you,"he said. "I think that is the biggest thing about it. To be able to come in with great guys that have dominated on the high school level everywhere and now they are dominating at the college level, so you get to play with the best, learn from the best and learn a new offense, so this can really help you in the long run."
Sims said he is impressed with the signees who have joined him in enrolling early. "We have put together some great talent at different positions," Sims said. "We got into the trenches this year and got some talent everywhere. We have specialists like Cade Foster, defensive linemen, offensive linemen, receivers, backs, linebackers and safeties so we did it all this year. This is a class to be proud of."
Sims had some work to do in order to b able to enter Alabama in January. He learned in the summer, shortly after committed to the Crimson Tide, of the possibility of finishing his high school work and heading to Tuscaloosa.
His high school coach first presented the possibility, Sims said. Then he had to overcome a state policy against early graduation. "You have to get it passed by the school board, principals, teachers and everybody else, so I figured out over the summer that I could do it and I made it happen."
Sims said he would be able to go back to Virginia wen his senior class is graduated. He will miss the senior prom.
"That's just a party," Sims said. "In college there are a lot of parties."
Sims said he has heard about how tough the Fourth Quarter Program, Bama's off-season workouts, will be. "It's a mental thing," he said
Thus far, Sims has been going to class and lifting weights. In recent days he has begun film study, "learning the formations and calls." He said that might be a little extra pressure, but when spring training begins "I want to know what to do and be able to go full speed."
Sims said he chose Alabama because it had "everything" in the way of football and academics. He said he wanted a school where he thought he could go in and help. "I thought I could be that guy," he said.
Sims was just days away from heading to Tuscaloosa when his future team was playing for the national championship in Pasadena. That 37-21 win over Texas to give Bama the title didn't affect his decision, but was a memorable evening. "People kept calling me all during the game," he said.
Sims was asked about his position as a leader among the newcomers. "I am a leader more so because of the position I play, but I am more of a quiet leader," he said. "I am a guy that likes to go around and have a lot of fun, but I guess because of my position guys are more accustomed to following you, so it doesn't bother me but I am not one of those guys that is going to go around and jump in everyone's face. If you want to follow me, come along. If you don't, I'm still going to do my job."
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