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QB Phillip Sims no longer on Virginia roster, not enrolled for fall

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Phillip Sims will not be enrolled at Virginia for the fall and is ineligible to play for the Cavs in 2013. (USATSI)
Phillip Sims will not be enrolled at Virginia for the fall and is ineligible to play for the Cavaliers in 2013. (USATSI)

Quarterback Phillip Sims is not enrolled at Virginia for the fall semester and will not play for the team in 2013, Cavaliers coach Mike London announced Friday.

Sims transferred to Virginia for his sophomore season in 2012 after spending his freshman year at Alabama. The Chesapeake, Va., native received a waiver from the NCAA to compete immediately, splitting time at quarterback with Michael Rocco. Sims played in all 12 games, completing 114 of 203 passes for 1,263 yards and nine touchdowns.

"The thing we tell the young men who come to the University of Virginia to receive a world-class education and play for our football program is pretty simple," London said in the official release. "Go to class. Show class and treat people with dignity and respect. Those directions are pretty easy to follow and they will lead you on a path of success.

"When an individual strays from those directions, it is very disappointing to me. Phillip Sims did not make the commitment he needed to succeed here. I appreciate his efforts last season. He is a very talented young man who is blessed with some extraordinary athletic abilities. I still believe Phillip Sims can and will be a successful person. We will do what we can to assist Phillip in continuing his academic and athletic opportunities elsewhere."

London's stern message in the university release leaves little to the imagination regarding why Sims is ineligible. He went on to boast about the team's spring semester GPA, which according to London is the highest it has been in the past 10 years.

Sims was one of the highest-rated quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school, but this development is yet another setback. It is difficult to imagine the NCAA will grant another waiver, meaning he will likely have to drop a division to compete immediately or sit out the 2013 season due to the transfer rules.

For the Cavaliers, Sims' departure actually clears up a very murky quarterback situation. London had Sims, the quarterback with the most game experience on the roster, slotted at No. 3 behind redshirt sophomore David Watford and redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert on the post-spring depth chart. With Sims gone, Watford and Lambert can battle head-to-head for the starter's reps in fall camp.

Watford redshirted in 2012 after seeing spot duty as Rocco's backup in 2011. He appeared in 10 games, but completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw only three touchdown passes and four interceptions. The decision to redshirt in 2012 -- while Rocco battled with Sims throughout the season for snaps -- has worked out in Watford's favor. He still has three years of eligibility remaining, yet gained another year of experience in Charlottesville.

Lambert, a 6-foot-5, former four-star prospect from Jesup, Ga., was impressive during spring practice. He was one of the top prospects in London's 2012 recruiting class, picking the Cavs over Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. With Steve Fairchild entering his first season as London's offensive coordinator, Lambert has a good chance to push Watford when camp opens in the fall.

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