Next In Line At QB For Alabama: Blake Sims
There's no doubt the Alabama Crimson Tide and their fans are disappointed at not going for their third-straight BCS National Championship. After all, one play determined their season and now they're in the Sugar Bowl.
Although there's a lot of preparation to do for that game, Alabama fans are no doubt turning their focus to next season and trying to be the first team to win a national title out of the new playoff system.
Unfortunately for the Tide, they will have to do it without three-year starting quarterback AJ McCarron due to graduation. So, who does that leave?
On the roster are Blake Sims, Parker McLeod, Cooper Bateman and Alec Morris. The Tide also have four-star quarterback David Cornwell committed to the program. Sims is the current backup and is the favorite to land the starting job heading into the offseason.
So, who is Blake Sims?
Sims is a junior, who has 244 passing yards in his career at Alabama. He spent time at running back in Tuscaloosa as well, rushing for 74 yards against Ole Miss in 2011.
A two-way player at both Cass High School and Gainesville High School in Georgia, Sims was able to make a name for himself on both sides of the ball. It was at Gainesville where Sims gained his notoriety as he helped lead the Red Elephants to the state title game in his senior year. He totaled 3,763 all-purpose yards his senior year and 49 touchdowns.
Sims chose Alabama for its rich history and the fact that head coach Nick Saban would give him a chance to play quarterback, something Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, Florida State and Ole Miss wouldn't guarantee. It was a decision he never regretted.
During the last two years, Sims has stuck at quarterback and gotten a few chances on the field ... mostly in mop-up duty. Through it all, he's learned from one of the best quarterbacks ever to go through Alabama.
Sims knows the weight of the world will be on him next season as he tries to lead Alabama to a national title, but it's a challenge he's ready to accept with open arms.
He's thrown for 167 yards this year, including a 14-of-18 effort for 130 yards against Georgia State.
It's never been easy to sit and wait his turn, but Sims doesn't have to look any further than the example set by another former SEC quarterback — D.J. Shockley. After sitting behind David Greene, Shockley had one year to prove himself. And, what did he do? He led the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship in his only season as a starter.
Sims has the ability to make all of the throws and with all accuracy. His arm is strong and his mobility makes him a dual-threat. Of course, Saban won't be asking him to run as much.
We don't truly know how well Sims will do until he lines up under center for Alabama's first game against West Virginia on Aug. 30. But, considering where he came from, he'll be ready for the challenge.
Growing up with six other siblings, Sims has carried a weight on his shoulder to prove people wrong. Whether its former classmates, coaches or naysayers, Sims wanted to prove he could play with the best. The expectations Alabama fans will place on him in 2014 are nothing compared to the expectations he places on himself. And it's not only because he wants to represent the University of Alabama the best way he can, but he also wants to represent his family.
Most of all, he wants to give his siblings someone to look up to and an example they can all follow.