When East Carolina opened spring practice, it did so with one quarterback looking to turn his college career around. Philip Nelson, the former Minnesota quarterback that once transferred to Rutgers only to be dismissed, will join the Pirates as a walk-on this season. East Carolina confirmed his addition to the fall camp roster.
Nelson transferred from Minnesota to Rutgers in early 2014 shortly before being charged for felony assault following a bar brawl that left Division 2 football player Isaac Kolstad (Minnesota State-Mankato) in critical condition. Following his arrest in May 2014, Rutgers cut ties with Nelson by dismissing him from the program. Nelson later pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. Now, it appears, East Carolina is willing to give him another opportunity at the FBS level.
So, why would ECU head coach Ruffin McNeil willingly welcome a player with this kind of character issue hovering above him? McNeil feels Nelson has paid his due by taking responsibility for his actions and suggests Nelson will be surrounded by the kind of character that will allow for Nelson to continue rehabilitating his own flaws.
“I think it’s human nature and fair to question decisions such as these, but there was a lot of forethought and deliberation about our willingness to allow Phil to join our program as a [walk-on],” McNeill said in a story published by Wilmington Star News. “He did not make a good decision, but has taken responsibility and performed community service, which included cautioning kids about avoiding bad situations. It is my belief the support and leadership core of our football program can help enable him to become the man we know he can be.”
McNeil better hope he is right with Nelson, and Nelson should feel fortunate there was another door open to play FBS football somewhere in the country. Nelson had two opportunities to make something of himself at the FBS level already, and few get a third chance to prove something. With Kolstad’s football days over, no player in the country should feel as fortunate to be playing college football this season as Nelson.
Former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson will not have to serve any prison time for his involvement in a brutal attack that led to the injury of a Minnesota State football player. Nelson was instead sentenced to 100 hours of community service and was credited for serving two days in jail.
Isaac Kolstad was left in coma after being allegedly being attacked by Nelson and kicked in the head. Following the incident, Nelson was booted from the Rutgers team shortly after he had transferred from Minnesota. Kolstad has since made progress in his recovery in his rehab from his brain injury.
Nelson agreed to a plea that would result in a misdemeanor fifth-degree assault for pleading guilty.
Former Minnesota quarterback Phillip Nelson was charged with one count of first-degree assault and another for third-degree assault on a former division two football player currently battling for his life. Nelson was not alone in the attack of Isaac Kolstad in Minnesota though, and police are expected to charge the second man involved in the vicious act.
According to the Associated Press, police in Mankato, Minnesota arrested a 21-year old man not long after security video capturing the act had been released. The AP reports charges are expected to be made Wednesday. The extent of those charges is not known at this time. As previously reported, Nelson was witnessed kicking Kolstad in the head after being knocked down by the unidentified attacker. Nelson’s attorneys have said Nelson was not the aggressor in the incident. Kolstad has been hospitalized and has been listed in critical condition with doctors not optimistic about his chances for survival.
Nelson left the Minnesota program in January to transfer to Rutgers. In light of this recent incident, Rutgers dismissed Nelson from the program.
Rutgers quarterback Phillip Nelson was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of assault. On Monday police in Minnesota charged Nelson with one count of first-degree assault and another for third-degree assault. Nelson allegedly kicked a former D2 football player, Isaac Kolstad, in the head during an altercation in Mankato, Minnesota. Kolstad is reportedly in critical condition. Multiple reports say doctors are unsure Kolstad will survive the attack.
Kolstad played linebacker for Minnesota State-Mankato. According t police reports, Kolstad was punched and knocked to the ground by another unidentified suspect, who remains at large. Nelson allegedly kicked Kolstad in the head. There is no motive known publicly at this time.
Nelson transferred from Minnesota to Rutgers in January. NCAA transfer rules require Nelson to sit out the 2014 football season. For now, football eligibility is the least important part of the story.
A new week, a new bit of unfortunate news related to Rutgers. New Rutgers quarterback Phillip Nelson was arrested early Sunday morning in Minnesota for suspicion of third-degree assault and underage drinking, according to a report by Pioneer Press.
Nelson was arrested in Mankato for an incident that left a 24-year old man listed in critical condition at a clinic in Mankato. The victim of the alleged assault is Isaac Kolstad, a linebacker for Division 2 Minnesota State-Mankato. Nelson was arrested on the scene for probable cause. As reported by KSTP, assault in Minnesota is considered a felony.
Nelson transferred to Rutgers from Minnesota in January and will have to sit out the upcoming season regardless of what happens with the legal process. NCAA rules require him to sit out as a transfer. Rutgers will join the Big Ten this season.