AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. -- Virginia will soon file all the necessary paperwork to get Alabama transfer quarterback Phillip Sims eligible for the 2012 season.
Whether he gets his hardship waiver approved by the NCAA or not, coach Mike London reiterated Tuesday at the ACC spring meetings that Michael Rocco is his team's starting quarterback.
"Mike is our starting quarterback, and I’ve said that time and time again and I think hopefully we’re at a point in the program where players who come in, not only Phillip Sims, but the incoming freshmen class want to compete for opportunities," London said. "When you have players who want to compete for opportunities, then everybody gets better at that position. The quarterback is a high profile position. We don’t talk about the defensive ends or the corners coming in that are going to be competing for playing time as well. But that’s the mind-set you want to set for the team.
"Every year the team has to be re-formed and re-born. Hopefully, the guys who have been in the system have a comfort level and say,' Hey I don’t care who you bring in. This is my job.' If we have that type of mind-set, I think we’ll be OK."
Sims lost a quarterback competition to AJ McCarron last year at Alabama and spent the season as a backup, seeing time in five games. He decided to transfer closer to home because of an ailing family member, the reason Virginia is seeking a hardship waiver for Sims' immediate eligibility. If that waiver is denied, Sims would have to sit out one year because of NCAA transfer rules. London says he has been given no timetable for an answer from the NCAA.
"When I get back from these meetings, I'll be on the ground for a week and get a chance to find out where we are, how school ended up and see what compliance has turned in and then wait and see what the NCAA will tell us," London said. "Hopefully, things will work out."
Sims was a standout high school player in Virginia, when London was still coaching at Richmond. Virginia currently has two of Sims' former teammates at Oscar Smith High on the roster -- Perry Jones and Tim Smith. Jones' brother, Zack, has committed to sign with the Cavaliers in 2013.
Sims' addition is sure to be a hot topic as the season moves closer because of all the quarterbacks already on the roster. Rocco had a breakout season a year ago, throwing for 2,671 yards 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has two years of eligibility remaining. Backup quarterback David Watford also returns this fall, along with early enrollee Greyson Lambert. Three-star 2012 recruit Matt Johns also is set to arrive for fall practice.