TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama Crimson Tide backup quarterback Phillip Ely is transferring to Toledo, according to multiple reports. The redshirt freshman tweeted from his personal account that he's "ready to make a change in my life for the better."
Robert Weiner, Ely's former high school coach at Plant High in Tampa, Fla., confirmed the news. Ely threw for 2,731 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior at Plant, completing 64.3 percent of his passes while leading his team to the state championship game.
The former three-star prospect, according to ESPN's RecruitingNation, was the only quarterback Alabama signed in the 2011 class. Last season as a redshirted freshman and co-No. 2 quarterback behind AJ McCarron, Ely completed three of four passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Ely's departure was softened by Alabama's having signed three quarterbacks in this year's class. No. 3-ranked Cooper Bateman, No. 31-ranked Parker McLeod and walk-on Luke Del Rio, son of Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack, all enrolled early and went through practice this spring. They're joined by redshirt freshman Alec Morris and fourth-year junior Blake Sims in an already crowded quarterbacking corps.
Ely is forced to sit out the 2013 season because of NCAA rules, but will be eligible the following year. Ely's father told Al.com that Ohio State, Illinois and Boston College were among the other schools he considered.