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WSSU’s Phillip Sims talks Nick Saban, HBCU vs. PWI football, and chasing pro football

Phillip Sims was one of the top quarterbacks in high school football in 2010. Five years later, he’s looking for a home in the NFL after a college career that spanned three states and two NCAA Divisions.

The former Winston-Salem State quarterback talked to HBCU Gameday about his preparation for the 2015 NFL Draft, his time at Alabama and the difference between playing at an HBCU vs. a PWI.

“It’s definitely different,” says Sims, who started his career in the SEC. “At an HBCU there’s so much going on. I think, in general, sports isn’t the root of what everyone is focused on at that school.”

“When you see these stadiums sold out and 80-100,000 people, that’s because football, basketball, whatever that sport is, that is the sole focus of everybody in the school at that point and time…In Alabama, that’s the focus of the whole state.”

The Chesapeake native was rated as a five-star recruit, and had plenty of chose from coming out of Oscar Smith High School. Sims says he didn’t remember getting recruited by any HBCUs out of high school.

“I don’t remember any HBCUs coming to visit and recruit me, not that I know of,” Sims said.

Sims eventually chose Alabama, where he was coached by Nick Saban before transferring in 2012 due to family issues. Sims says Saban

“He kept his word. He never turned his back on me,” Sims said of Saban. “He’s been more than a football coach especially for a guy like me that was only a part of the program for two and a half, three years and decided to move on.”

Sims transferred to Virginia, where he played for one season before being ruled academically ineligible. He eventually chose Winston-Salem State. He says he picked WSSU because of its success and his rapport with the coaches.

“I felt like it was a place I could go and with them being successful at that level, I felt like it would put me in a position to be successful and still be able to achieve my goal of making it to the next level,” Sims said.

WSSU went 9-2 in 2014, with Sims and Rudy Johnson sharing snaps. All in all, Sims said he enjoyed his time at WSSU.

“It was fun,” Sims said of his season at WSSU. “Sometimes you take things for granted. Having to sit out a year, it really brings you back down to earth.”

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