The Minnesota Golden Gophers are left with the same situation as they were last season at quarterback. One on the roster with experience, a promising redshirt freshman and an incoming freshman.
The most experienced quarterback on the Gopher roster is no longer a member of the Gopher football team.
Philip Nelson, a junior-to-be from Mankato, Minn., announced in a statement that he is leaving the Gophers and continuing his collegiate experience elsewhere. Nelson struggled as a passer, partly because the receiver position was not very good, and failed to build consistency. He believes that he needs to go to an offensive system that “centers more around the pass game which utilizes my skill sets. I am excited to go out and meet with programs that match up with my talents.”
Kill is on the road recruiting, but still made a statement in a press release from the university’s athletic department.
“Philip is a terrific young man, and I wish him all the best as he continues his education and football career elsewhere,” Kill said. “I want to thank Philip for the contributions he made to our football program both on and off the field, and I will do anything I can to help him both now and in the future.”
Despite starting for most of the last two seasons, he never took full command of the starting job. It appeared that after his bowl performance against Syracuse that any one of the three returning quarterbacks (Nelson, Mitch Leidner or Chris Streveler) could start in the opener on Aug. 28 against Eastern Illinois.
According the Star Tribune, Nelson’s dad said that he started talking about transferring before the bowl. It had “nothing to do with it.”
Now the position is presumably a two-horse race with Leidner getting the first crack in spring ball.