Imagine, if you can, Blake Sims calling Alabama coach Nick Saban the day after the Crimson Tide wins the national championship to inform Saban that he is de-committing.
That’s what the Gainesville quarterback and long-time Bama commitment did on Friday. He now says he has completely re-opened his recruitment and is considering Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, West Virgina and Michigan as well as Alabama.
“I love Coach Saban and all the Alabama people, but it just didn’t feel like the right fit for me,” Sims told AJC high schools reporter Michael Carvell Friday night. “I had to tell [Saban] first, before the word got out. It was a tough conversation, but I think he understood where I coming from. He respected that I called to tell him myself, rather than have to hear it from other people.”
For this you can thank the Tennessee Volunteers. Head coach Lane Kiffin and assistant Ed Orgeron had an in-home visit with Sims on Wednesday and convinced him he should play on the offensive side of the ball in college and not on defense. Sims had concerns that Alabama wanted him to play cornerback and he was not enamored with the Tide’s offense anyway.
“I’ve been watching their games all year, and I feel l like their offense doesn’t fit me,” said Sims, who’s rated the state’s top quarterback by the AJC and No. 9 overall prospect overall. “I want to help out a team as a playmaker . . . catch balls, return punts, and return kickoffs. I feel like there are better places to do those things than Alabama.”
Sims canceled his official visit to Alabama on Jan. 15, replacing it with a recruiting trip to Tennessee. He’s also expected to set up a visit with the Bulldogs.
During the season, Georgia head coach Mark Richt made a personal push for Sims, who is a lifelong fan and has attended the Bulldogs’ camps every year since the ninth grade. At the time Richt told Sims he’d be given a shot to play quarterback but Sims said he has not heard from the Bulldogs in a while.
Sims is bracing for a backlash from Alabama fans.
“I just hope they understand I have to do what’s best for me and my family,” he said. “Alabama is a great school and I wish them the best.”
After dispensing Friday’s news, Sims’ family said Blake will have no further media contact until he has made a final decision and is directing all inquiries to Gainesville assistant coach Todd Wofford. Here’s a statement I received from Sims via email:
I would like to open this statement with thanks to God for blessing me with the gifts that have given me the opportunity to continue my football career at the next level. I would also like to thank my teammates, coaches and fans and especially my family for the tremendous support during our run to the State Championship.
Since that championship game I have had a lot of time to think about my future as a person and as a football player. As many of you know, last spring I verbally committed to play football for Coach Nick Saban and the University of Alabama. and his staff are some of the finest people I have ever met. [They] have treated me very well throughout the entire process and I believe Alabama is a great place.
Having prayed about my future and talking with my coaches and family, I realize that my heart and desire are on the offensive side of the football. Most of you know me as a quarterback but I feel at the next level I will best suited as a receiver/playmaker. Knowing that is where I want to play, I am announcing today that I am decommitting from Alabama so that I may explore all the opportunities that have been presented to me.
This is a painful decision for me because Alabama is still tops in my heart and Coach Saban is amazing. I just feel it would be the right thing to do for Alabama and myself to pursue all my choices with no obligations. Next fall when I hit the field I want to have a peace in my heart knowing that I checked out every place I could and made the best decision for me and my family.
I am including a list of some of the schools and I will be visiting or talking to over the next 30 days. Thank You and God bless!