Joe Christensen covered Major League Baseball for 15 years, including three seasons at the Baltimore Sun and eight at the Star Tribune, before switching to the college football beat. He’s a Faribault, Minn., native who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He covered Jim Wacker’s Gophers for the Minnesota Daily and also wrote about USC, UCLA and the Rose Bowl for the Riverside Press-Enterprise before getting this chance to cover football again.
Email Joe to talk about the Gophers.
Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson has decided to transfer, his father Pat Nelson confirmed to the Star Tribune.
In a statement, Philip Nelson said, "I want to thank Coach Kill for the opportunity to play football at the University of Minnesota. I have the utmost respect for Coach Kill and what he's done for this program. I also want to reach out to all the great Minnesota fans that supported the football program and say thank you. Your effort makes a difference.
"For me, I am looking to play in a 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."
Nelson met with Gophers coach Jerry Kill on Wednesday, and it was an amicable parting according to Nelson’s father.
Pat Nelson said Kill offered to use his contacts to help the quarterback find the best landing spot possible. Nelson hopes to enroll somewhere quickly so he’s eligible to play in spring football.
He hasn’t used his redshirt season yet, so he’ll have three years to use his two remaining years of eligibility.
Pat Nelson said his son is open to transferring anywhere outside of the Big Ten. If he stayed within the conference, he would lose a year of eligibility.
As for the reasons for the transfer, Pat Nelson said it really came down to looking for a more pass-heavy offense.
“I hope there isn’t going to be a perception that this is about the quarterback competition,” Pat Nelson said. “The people who have the best relationship on the team are Philip Nelson and Mitch Leidner.”
Nelson played in just three series in the bowl game loss to Syracuse. Asked if frustration over that led to the decision, Pat Nelson said, “This whole entire conversation started a long time ago. The bowl game had nothing to do with it.”
Kill released a statement on Twitter (@GopherFootball), saying, "Philip is a terrific young man. I wish him all the best as he continues his education and football career elsewhere. 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.”
Come back to startribune.com later for more on this story.
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