TAMPA, Fla. -- Chalk up another victory for the reigning national champions.
Quarterback Phillip Ely (Tampa, Fla./Plant) surprised many when he committed to Alabama over offers from LSU, Wake Forest, Clemson and Ole Miss on Wednesday during a press conference at his school.
The No. 15 ranked quarterback in the nation had been very quiet about his recruiting and never officially named a leader or a top five.
"You want to play for a program like that because they are the champions," Ely said. "The coaches and players there understand what it takes to win."
Ely is no stranger to winning himself; he currently has a 19-0 record as a starter and two state championships. He threw for 1,833 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior.
Although he currently plays in a spread offense, Ely should have no problem switching to Alabama's more traditional style of play.
"I like their offense a lot, I think it's a great system for quarterbacks," Ely added. "The successful quarterbacks at Alabama have all had great leadership and discipline."
Ely had been a familiar face in Tuscaloosa and most recent took part in the Elite 11 Tuscaloosa regional camp. Now he'll be spending his next few years there.
"It's a great day for Phillip and he embodies everything you want in a student-athlete," Plant coach Robert Weiner said. "He not a young man that's concerned about individual accomplishments, he wants to be part of team success and there's no program that's more successful right now than Alabama."
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.