Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson will not be returning to the Gophers in 2014. Nelson is seeking a transfer to find an offensive system that more suits his style of play, according to Star Tribune in Minneapolis.
“For me, I am looking to play in a system that centers more around the pass game which utilizes my skill sets,” Nelson through a statement shared by Star Tribune. “I am excited to go out and meet with programs that match up with my talents.”
Nelson, a sophomore, played in 11 games for Minnesota last season, leading the team in passing with 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns. He was intercepted six times and completed just 50.5 percent of his pass attempts, and he split playing time largely with freshman Mitch Leidner. Nelson had some promising moments in the 2012 season for Minnesota, but after a nice debut in his first few games he hit a wall by ending the year with six interceptions to two touchdowns in the final four games of the season. Nelson hit another wall at the end of the 2013 season as well, throwing zero touchdowns in the final three games of the year while being picked off twice and benched in the Texas Bowl.
It looks as though Leidner will be the full-time quarterback in 2014 if he can hold on to the position this spring in practices. Leidner passed for 619 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games last season.
Nelson will have to transfer to an FCS program if he wants to play in 2014. If he transfers to another FBS program, then he will have to sit out the 2014 season before being eligible to return to the field in 2015. He has not used a redshirt season, so he will still have two years of eligibility remaining.