After spending his second season on campus at No. 3 on Alabama’s depth chart, quarterback Phillip Ely (Tampa, Fla.) has announced that he will be transferring to Toledo this fall, according to CBS Sports.
Ely will be sitting out the 2013 season, but the Rockets’ current starter Terrance Owens, is going to be a senior this year. Thus, the quarterback position will be wide open once Ely is eligible to play as a junior in 2014.
That was one of the things he was looking for in choosing Toledo over the likes of Vanderbilt, Illinois and USF, but it was not the only condition.
Matt Campbell, currently just 34, was the youngest head coach in college football in 2012. However, he led the Rockets to a 9-4 record in his first year and a berth in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The energy he and his staff exude was something Ely was drawn to.
“It had a ‘Plant’ feel with all of the young coaches,” he said referring to his old high school, Tampa Plant, a state powerhouse.
AJ McCarron is primed for a run at the Heisman Trophy as a senior at Alabama this season. However, junior Blake Sims was slated as McCarron’s primary backup and should enjoy one year as the full-time starter as a senior himself in 2014.
Thus, there simply was not going to be enough time for Ely to strut his stuff in Tuscaloosa.
“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.”
Besides being a part of two national title teams at Alabama, Ely took over for an injured Aaron Murray (perhaps you’ve heard of him?) and led Plant to the Florida state title in 2008.
“He personifies the word ‘winner’,” said Plant coach Robert Weiner.