Report: Former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson will transfer to Rutgers

Sam Cooper
January 29, 2014

Less than two weeks after announcing his intent to transfer, former Minnesota starting quarterback Philip Nelson has found a landing spot.

Nelson will remain in the Big Ten, as CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman reported that Nelson will suit up for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who will join the Big Ten on July 1.

Nelson, a Mankato, Minnesota native, started 16 games in his two seasons with the Gophers, throwing for 2,179 yards and 17 touchdowns while running for 548 yards and six other scores. He told the Minnesota Star Tribune the reason for his transfer was to play in a system “that centers more around the pass game.”

Nelson split time with Mitch Leidner during the 2013 season and led the team with 1,670 yards of total offense. Nelson played just three series in the Gophers’ Texas Bowl loss to Syracuse, but Nelson’s father Pat Nelson told the Star Tribune his son’s playing time in the bowl game “had nothing to do with” the transfer.

Since Nelson is now transferring to another Big Ten school, instead of enrolling in the summer, Nelson must enroll at Rutgers by Friday to keep his remaining two years of eligibility. The Big Ten’s in-conference transfer rule requires players transferring within the conference to lose a year of eligibility, but Rutgers does not officially join the conference until July 1.

Nelson’s father told that his son hopes to keep his remaining two years of eligibility intact after sitting out next season due to NCAA rules.

“It’s unfortunate, but we understand the rules,” Pat Nelson said Tuesday. “There’s no way we’re going to give up a year of eligibility to play one. That doesn’t make any sense.”

Nelson will work with former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, who is expected to be named Rutgers’ new offensive coordinator.

The depth chart looks promising for Nelson after he sits out the 2014 season. Senior Gary Nova will have graduated by the time Nelson is eligible, so his prospects for the starting job look good.

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