The 6-foot-1, 215-pound quarterback said he chose the Rockets over Vanderbilt, Illinois and South Florida. He said his visit to the Toledo campus and the time he spent with the Rockets coaching staff really wowed him. "It had a 'Plant' feel with all of the young coaches," he said in reference to his high school, Tampa Plant, a state powerhouse.
Ely joins a strong Toledo program that just went 9-4 in coach Matt Campbell's first season. Starting QB Terrance Owens will be a senior at Toledo in 2013.
As a high school sophomore, Ely took over for an injured Aaron Murray and led Plant to the Florida state title in 2008. Ely also led Plant to another state title in 2009. In 2010, his team lost in the state title game. In his two years at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won two national titles.
"He personifies the word 'winner,'" Plant coach Robert Weiner said.
Ely will sit out 2013 and then have two seasons of eligibility starting in 2014.
"I've learned so much that I can take with me from my time at Alabama," Ely said. "I was a part of a great team. It only betters myself. It's made me who I am. I can take what I've learned and use it at Toledo."
He said one of the biggest things he's learned while at Alabama from coach Nick Saban and QB AJ McCarron is how to prepare for big games.