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April 27, 2012TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama quarterback Phillip Sims will transfer at the end of the spring semester, according to the school.
The third-year sophomore played sparingly last season after losing a competitive battle for the starting job with AJ McCarron.
It is unclear which school Sims might transfer to, although a source close to the situation said Virginia is a strong possibility. Multiple reports indicate Virginia has received a release to speak with the quarterback. Sims is a Virginia native.
"This was a very difficult decision because I've had a great experience at the University of Alabama and I'm thankful for the opportunity this program provided me," said Sims. "I want to thank Coach Saban and the coaching staff for being with me and my family at this time. I wouldn't change anything about my decision to come to Alabama and this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."
Sims' departure leaves Alabama with two scholarship quarterbacks, McCarron and redshirt freshman Phillip Ely, although incoming freshman Alec Morris will join the team in the fall.
"The reason for me leaving is nothing more than a personal matter. I just need to be closer to home to support my family at this time and that needs to be my priority right now," Sims added. "I would still like to continue my football career, and hopefully I can do that and also be there for my family."
Sims played in eight games last year, passing for 163 yards. Saban said he and Sims discussed the decision on numerous occasions.
"Phillip has been a great representative of our program and did a great job for us in his two years here," said UA head coach Nick Saban. "We are sorry to see him leave, but we certainly understand the situation, and everyone here wishes him the best of luck."
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.