CHEASPEAKE, Va. - Hampton Roads has been a regular hotbed for quarterback talent over the years. The 2009 class features two major talents with Kevin Newsome and Tajh Boyd, but already colleges are taking notice of a stud quarterback in the 2010 class - Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith quarterback Phillip Sims.
Sims will likely be breaking out of the shadows as a junior this fall now that his top three receivers from last season (Kerry Boykins, Todd Harrelson and Jamal Wilson) are headed off to Division I schools.
"It was a great experience to play with those wide receivers," he said. "I made the most of the situation. They had been around longer and helped me a lot.
"Now with them gone, I've got Timothy Smith to lean on along with Perry Jones. I also have got to lean on my experience some more."
Experience shouldn't be a problem for the 6-foot-2, 183-pounder as he has been playing football for years now.
"When I was about eight or nine I started playing," he said. "I was always playing basketball before that and I hit a growth spurt and was big for my age. My uncle and my dad played at Elizabeth City College.
"I really learned a lot from them. I learned knowledge of the game and how to keep my head in the game. They taught me about practicing every week and about how the safe place is often the better thing to do."
Sims seems destined to be the next in a long line of great quarterbacks to have come out of the 757.
"I think this area with Ronald Curry, Allen Iverson, Aaron Brooks and the Vicks," he said. "There is a microscope on the quarterbacks and if you do it, you've got to do it well.
"I grew up watching Ronald Curry. He's a two-sport athlete that also played basketball. I did that as well. I think he did so many things well on the field. He wasn't known for just one thing that made him."
Did Sims learn much from watching Curry?
"I wouldn't say I did," he said. "I've got my own style and I like the way I play. It's my style.
"I'm more of a pro-style quarterback. I'm not going to run for 100 yards in a game. I'm a decision-making quarterback that makes a big play with my arm, more than my legs. That's my style."
Colleges can't officially offer Sims until September, but plenty are already very interested.
"I just came from a visit to Georgia recently," he said. "The atmosphere there was crazy. The football team and staff are high energy. It's a high energy place that fits a pro-style quarterback. They seem interested in me, not just because I'm an athlete.
"The main thing I liked about it was the tradition. As they say, they are all about the G and they have a lot of respect for the university as a whole. I also got a chance to talk to Coach Richt. He was cool and interested in me as a person."
The Bulldogs aren't the only school to receive a visit from Sims recently.
"I also was on a visit to Clemson," he said. "I liked Death Valley and the environment there. The players were cool and that stadium speaks for itself."
Sims plans to get out more this summer as he is looking to camp at Clemson, Georgia and Florida.
Even though recruiting hasn't started, already there are some early preferences for the talented Hampton Roads star.
"I'm a fan of Georgia, the Florida schools and the SEC," he said. "I think the SEC is the best conference in the nation. You get to compete against the best every week."