Isaac Kolatad

Victim in alleged Philip Nelson assault responds to ‘thumbs up’ command


For the second time in less than a week, there’s some positive news on the Isaac Kolstad front.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the former Div. III football player responded to verbal commands from his neurosurgeons to give them the “thumbs up” sign. It’s the first time since Kolstad went into a coma following a savage beating three weeks ago that he’s responded to verbal commands.

Late last week, the family wrote on its blog that the swelling in Kolstad’s brain “has decreased even more and we are told by his physicians we are now ‘out of the woods’ for needing additional brain surgeries to repair damage from the injuries or other post-operative complications he was at risk for, but thankfully avoided.”

That glimmer of hope came a week after the family released a dire statement confirming that the 24-year-old Kolstad, who is married and has a young daughter, was on life support and had a portion of his brain removed after allegedly being kicked in the head repeatedly during an assault.

In mid-May, now-former Rutgers quarterback Philip Nelson was arrested in connection to what the vicious assault outside of a Mankato, Minn., bar. Nelson was ultimately charged with first- and third-degree assault in an incident that left Kolstad (pictured), hospitalized and fighting for his life. Another man is facing charges as well.

Nelson, who transferred to Rutgers from Minnesota earlier this offseason, was subsequently dismissed from the Scarlet Knights football program.

We’ve said it before and we’ll continue saying it as long as the situation warrants: while Kolstad lays in a hospital fighting for his life, Nelson is free on a $20,000 bond.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah

Report: Duke Williams injured Auburn teammate with punch in ‘bar rampage’

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 29:  D'haquille Williams #1 of the Auburn Tigers misses a touchdown catch in the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 29, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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D’haquille Williams may have some additional explaining to do to NFL personnel if another report is accurate.

Monday night, Auburn announced that the star wide receiver had been dismissed from Gus Malzahn‘s football program.  A day later, reports surfaced that Williams’ dismissal came after he went on a weekend “bar rampage” following one of his friends getting the heave-ho from a local drinking establishment over a dress-code issue. It was alleged that Williams had punched a pair of security guards, a bartender’s assistant and an unnamed patron of the bar.

The unnamed, however, now has a name.

According to the ABC affiliate in Montgomery, Ala., and a citing a source close to the AU program, Tigers center Xavier Dampeer‘s jaw was on the receiving end of one of Williams’ alleged punches. The website wrote that “Dampeer has been treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center, according to a worker at the hospital.”

Malzahn was asked Tuesday if any other Tiger players were involved in the incident. “I’m not going to get into any details,” the coach said according to

No charges have been filed in connection to the incident.

“We cannot file charges until the injured person(s) comes forward,” Auburn police chief Paul Register told the television station. “Unless an officer personally sees a fight, no arrests can be made.”