Phillip Sims is officially moving closer to home.
Sims, the backup quarterback on last year's BCS champion Alabama football team, is transferring to Virginia, the school confirmed in a release on Wednesday.
“Virginia football welcomes Phillip Sims to our family,” UVa coach Mike London said in the release. "“Hopefully he will have a productive career here at UVa as his previous accolades have shown.”
Sims was regarded by ESPNU as the top high school quarterback by in the country when he was coming out of Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake in 2010. Sims graduated as the state of Virginia's all-time leader in both passing yards (10,725) and touchdown passes (119). He chose the Crimson Tide over a list of schools that included UVa, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State, and Clemson.
Scout.com rated Sims as a five-star recruit, while Rivals and ESPNU both gave Sims four stars.
After redshirting in 2010, Sims served as AJ McCarron's backup last fall. He appeared in eight games, finishing the season 18-of-28 for 163 yards with a pair of interceptions. He announced his intention to transfer last week.
"The reason for me leaving is nothing more than a personal matter," Sims said in a release issued by Alabama. "I just need to be closer to home to support my family at this time and that needs to be my priority right now."
Citing those family circumstances, Sims plans to file an appeal with the NCAA that, if approved, would allow the rising sophomore to play immediately for the Cavaliers. If the NCAA denies the waiver, Sims would have to sit out the 2012 season, and join the Cavaliers as a junior in 2013.
Virginia returns its top two quarterbacks from 2011 -- starter Michael Rocco, a rising junior, and true sophomore backup David Watford. Early enrollee freshman Greyson Lambert was the third quarterback in camp this past spring.