Sims plans to transfer from Alabama

Phillips Sims, who battled AJ McCarron for the starting quarterback job a year ago, plans to transfer from Alabama and wants to be closer to his family in Chesapeake, Va.

Sims, who may wind up at Virginia, thanked Alabama and coach Nick Saban and released a statement through the university that read:

"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. I want to thank coach (Nick) 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. 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. I would still like to continue my football career, and hopefully I can do that and also be there for my family."

With Sims leaving, that means redshirt freshman Phillip Ely moves into the backup role entering the 2012 season. The Crimson Tide also signed quarterback Alec Morris of Allen, Texas in this class, and Morris is scheduled to arrive on campus this summer.