|‘Bama Coach Nick Saban is one snap away from turning to Phillip Ely
to lead his offense this season.
May 3, 2012
With the news leaking last week of Alabama backup quarterback Phillip Sims’ intention to transfer, Phillip Ely’s summer plans just got a little more interesting. The redshirt freshman is now in line to take over for Sims as A.J. McCarron’s backup for the 2012 season. While the redshirt freshman has not thrown a pass in a college game, he has had the benefit of participating in the last two spring practices (Ely was an early enrollee in 2011) against the Crimson Tide’s uber-talented defensive unit.
Ely completed 10-of-18 passes for 83 yards without a touchdown or an interception in Alabama’s A-Day game. Considering that he backed up current Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray at Plant High School in Tampa, an argument could be made that he is well-prepared for the challenge of being handed the keys to a championship-caliber team should McCarron miss any game action.
The former U.S. Army All-American threw for more than 4,500 yards and 46 touchdowns during his last two prep seasons—leading his team to a state title in his junior season and a title game appearance in his final season in the high school ranks.
With the sobering reality that Ely is now one snap away from his number being called, his development will be one of the critical areas for Nick Saban and his staff to monitor when fall camp rolls around in August. When asked recently by reporters about Ely’s progress during a booster tour stop in Atlanta, Saban briefly expanded on what he thought of his play in the spring “Improved a lot,” Saban said when he was in Atlanta, according to Don Kausler, Jr. of al.com. “It’s critical for us that he continues to develop. It’s going to be critical for us that the freshman that we recruited, when he gets there, he develops as well.”
The good news for Crimson Tide fans is that Saban will have ample time to come up with a plan for the 6’1”, 198-pounder should he be pressed into duty. With potentially the best offensive line in the country in charge of protecting their signal-callers, they are more equipped than most to help Ely succeed in a situation that would doom most national title contenders.
By: Preston Bailey
September 25, 2010
TAMPA – The back-to-back state champ Plant Panthers came out of the gate strong Friday night with their first offensive play going for an 80-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Ely to Austin Aikens to take a 6-0 lead at Dad’s Stadium.
The Panthers were led by senior quarterback Ely, who was 9-for-14 with 188 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Starting running back James Wilder had three carries for 64 yards (including a 40-yard TD run) and also had one catch for a 41-yard touchdown.
Plant running back Calvin Mann had four carries for 96 yards rushing and a 63-yard touchdown run.
Plant dominated the Riverview Sharks by scoring 42 points in the first quarter – two passing touchdowns, two fumbles returns, a touchdown run, a punt return and a safety.
Plant’s defense was strong all night, allowing only 107 yards of offense on 47 plays (45 runs, two passes) with three sacks for 29 yards lost.
Riverview workhorse fullback Drake Pickford gained 93 rushing yards on 24 carries.
- P – Aikens 80 pass from Ely (run failed)
- P – Greacen 20 fumble return (Van Aman kick)
- P – Wilder 40 run (Van Aman kick)
- P – Crawford 41 punt return (Van Aman kick)
- P – Madhu 5 fumble return (kick failed)
- P – Safety, ball rolled through end zone
- P – Wilder 41 pass from Ely (Van Aman kick)
- R – Randolph 5 run (run failed)
- P – Millis 8 pass from Ely (Van Aman kick)
- P – Mann 63 run (Van Aman kick)
By Katherine Smith
September 1, 2010
TAMPA – Numbers tell a lot about Plant High senior quarterback Phillip Ely.
In two seasons of varsity football for the Panthers – 24 games – Ely has
thrown for 3,627 yards and 39 touchdowns. As a starter, he’s 19-0.
But numbers don’t tell the whole Ely story.
He really is one of the great stories of all time, Plant coach Robert
Weiner said. He’s a young man who has never had a personal individual
goal and is always focused on the right things.
He’s focused on what’s best for the team and the overall group. And
because of that, everything that he could have wanted has come his way.
Two state titles? Check.
Recognition as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, including an
invite to the prestigious Elite 11 Quarterbacks Camp? Check.
Verbal commitment to defending national champion Alabama? Check.
Those are just a few things that have come Ely’s way. And with a full
year of high school remaining, there should be plenty more.
Not bad for a kid who started as a sophomore when Aaron Murray broke his leg and stood barely 5-foot-9 and weighed 150 pounds.
Ely literally has transformed and grown up before everyone’s eyes, now
standing 6-1 and weighing 190. He was the cleanup guy, so to speak, his
sophomore year when he was thrust into the starter’s role.
Last year, his own injury delayed his debut as the full-time starter but
he returned to help the Panthers to their second consecutive state
So what will Ely do for an encore as a senior? If his past performances are any indication, great things.
Talking with Aaron and Robert (Marve), they said going into your senior
year the game just kind of slows down, Ely said. You get to breathe
for a second and get to see things you never got to see before, and I’m
kind of excited to see what they’re talking about.
It’s crazy that it’s my senior year. I want to go out with a bang. I
just want to go and play football and not really think about numbers and
that stuff, and hopefully keep this train going.
August 12, 2010
Plant’s Phillip Ely and Tony Posada announced their college choices on Wednesday.
It’s hard to imagine Phillip Ely as a nose tackle.
But the Plant High quarterback apparently hasn’t forgotten any of the
skills he learned at the position he played in youth football because
Ely blindsided the college football world with his announcement
Ely verbally committed to the University of Alabama, a school that
offered him a scholarship only three weeks ago. One of Ely’s protectors,
right tackle Tony Posada, announced he is going to Michigan during a
one-hour news conference at Plant’s media center.
I wanted it to be a shocker. I think it’s more fun that way, said
Ely, who was on the phone to Alabama coach Nick Saban soon after his
announcement. I hope everyone got a kick out of it.
Following in the footsteps of Robert Marve (Purdue) and Aaron Murray
(Georgia), Ely became the third consecutive Division I quarterback Plant
has produced. He received more than 30 Division I offers, including
Clemson, LSU, Purdue and Wake Forest, but when the defending national
champions pulled the trigger last month with an offer, Ely said his
decision became much easier.
Ely, who will wear No..12 like Joe Namath, showed up on Alabama’s
radar during spring practices while the Crimson Tide were checking out
Plant two-way starter James Wilder Jr. Ely’s beefed-up physical
appearance and workout performances opened Alabama’s eyes.
His news conference announcement, which included the unveiling of an
Alabama tie and hat, left a lot mouths open and drew gasps from a few
people in the crowd.
It was a shocker, Plant head coach Robert Weiner said. Just the
way it came about, kind of gave us the opportunity to do that.
I told him after he made his decision that he had the opportunity to really, really surprise a lot of people.
Posada also showed off a Michigan tie and hat when he announced his
decision. Both players were key contributors to the Panthers’
back-to-back state championships and 27-2 record the past two seasons.
Posada emerged as one of the top offensive linemen in the country
toward the end of last season and the offers soon flooded in. The
6-foot-6, 310-pound Posada was ready to commit to Michigan, over Florida
and USF, soon after his campus visit.
That program has so much history, it felt like I just had to go with
them, Posada said. I’m happy to get this out of the way so I just
have to worry about practice.
I don’t have to worry about (recruiting) when I go home. Now I can just concentrate on my senior season.
By Drew Fellios
Bright House Sports Network
July 26, 2010
That best sums up Phillip Ely’s tenure as
Plant’s starting quarterback. Heading into his senior season, perfection
as a starter is something not even the great Robert Marve or Aaron Murray can claim before him.
Remind him of that, and the Plant senior QB stays humble. He
knows his success can be attributed to Plant’s dominance as an
overall program just as much as it can to his ability.
But you can’t deny these facts.
No Plant QB has been more clutch in big games as early in his career as Ely.
Factor his pick-me-up win over Hillborough in 2008 followed
by his thrilling TD passes to Orson Charles to beat Armwood in the 4A
regional final. That set the table for Murray’s return and Plant’s title
In 2009, the final three games defined him.
A win at Countryside in the mud in a game that clearly could
have gotten away. Ely kept the Panthers on track. The following week, he
led the Panthers into Bryant Stadium and toppled Polk County dynasty
Lakeland. He finished at the Citrus Bowl, leading Plant to their
third state championship in four years. Put it all together and Phillip
Ely has had a near-perfect Plant career.
But he’s not done yet.
April 18, 2010
Florida’s most successful quarterbacks in recent memory (we’re speaking of guys such as Tim Tebow, Rex Grossman, Chris Leak, Shane Matthews and Danny Wuerffel) had several things in common.
One of them was this: all won big at the high school level.
That is something Tampa (Fla.) Plant rising senior QB Phillip Ely certainly has done. He currently is 19-0 as a starter, played a prominent role on one state championship squad and was a starter on another.
Also, the 6-foot-1, 187-pounder has developed into nice college prospect.
Thus far, Ely has offers from the likes of Iowa State, Central Michigan and Ohio, to go along with strong interest from Arizona State and Wake Forest.
At Saturday’s Gainesville NIKE Camp, Florida target Jeff Driskel of Oviedo (Fla.) Hagerty was named top QB performer. Ely was second in the voting.
I loved the camp, Ely said. I loved the competition (with Driskel). It was back and forth all day.
Driskel has a Gator offer. Ely, who had two uncles play for Florida and a sister who goes there, does not.
Nonetheless, the Gators are talking to him a good bit. And the feedback from his recruiter, Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, apparently has been positive.
They really like his film, Plant coach Robert Weiner said. His size is the issue.
But, not as much as it used to be.
At the same event last year, Ely weighed only 161 pounds. On Saturday, he looked more fit — and chiseled — than ever before.
But, he added, I’ve got to get bigger. It’s as simple as that.
Ely displayed a strong arm and nice touch Saturday, and drew praise from camp instructor Browning Nagle, a former NFL quarterback.
He’s right there, Nagle said. He’s smart and has the willingness to learn.
Admittedly, Ely would love a Florida offer.
He said his relationship with McCarney is excellent, and he has been told Florida will be at Plant this spring to watch him — and potential five-star prospect James Wilder Jr. — in person.
He’s the best, Ely said of McCarney. I really like him. You couldn’t come across a better guy.
According to Weiner, Ely is on Florida’s board. The question is, where?
They just want to see him in the spring, Weiner said. Then, we’ll see. I think it’s 50-50.