Phillip Sims to transfer from Alabama

Alabama has granted quarterback Phillip Sims permission to transfer, the school announced on Friday.

Alabama will let Sims transfer to Virginia if he chooses the Cavaliers, a source said.

Sims competed with AJ McCarron for the starting position for the national champion Crimson Tide last spring but was beaten out.

"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 in a school release. "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."

Sims is from Chesapeake, Va., and could attempt to be eligible immediately through an NCAA appeal citing family circumstances.

"Phillip has been a great representative of our program and did a great job for us in his two years here," Saban said. "We are sorry to see him leave, but we certainly understand the situation, and everyone here wishes him the best of luck. We've talked on numerous occasions about this decision and we just want Phillip to know that we will be here to support him in the future if there is anything we can do to help him and his family."

Sims chose Alabama over Georgia, Tennessee, FSU and Clemson.

Sims redshirted in 2010 and played in eight games this year, completing 64 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions.