Most of what I've seen/read today is folks wishing Ely all the best. He's a good kid, from what I've seen (dont know him personally) and the fact is, or at least appeares that he may be better suited to life somehwhere else.
The word came earlier today that redshirt freshman quarterback Phillip Ely will be transferring to Toledo (which is where, ironically, Nick Saban got his start as a head coach). The immediate reaction to Ely’s announcement? Alabama doesn’t have a proven backup quarterback! Alabama doesn’t have a proven backup quarterback!
But before folks spend too much time dissecting the Tide’s quarterback situation, keep in mind that Ely’s career stat line reads as follows: 3-of-4 passing for 42 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Granted, a passer rating of 245.7 is darn hard to beat, but when it’s based on just four thrown passes, well, that rating might be a bit deceiving.
The fact of the matter is Ely had apparently been passed by Blake Sims and Alec Morris in the race to be AJ McCarron’s understudy. Morris, like Ely, is a redshirt freshman and that might have caused Ely to reassess his own long-term prospects for playing time. According to Ely:
“I learned a lot at Alabama and felt like I got all the support I could ask for from the coaches. They just had to sort of pick a land with all the quarterbacks and I wasn’t in the right land. It’s better to know that sooner rather than later.”
Alabama will have five scholarship quarterbacks on its roster this fall as well as walk-on Luke Del Rio, the son of NFL coach Jack Del Rio. This is no slight to Ely, but even had he stayed and won the backup job, a serious injury to McCarron would have still thrust an unproven player into the starting role.
For that reason, it’s obviously important for Alabama’s O-line to keep McCarron upright and healthy. But it’s no more important today than it was yesterday.