Philip Nelson dismissed from Rutgers football program after Mank - KMSP-TV

Philip Nelson dismissed from Rutgers football program after Mankato assault charges

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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (KMSP) - Former Minnesota Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson has been dismissed from the Rutgers football program, the school announced Tuesday.

Nelson has been charged with first- and third-degree felony assault after being arrested on Sunday in connection with an incident that has former Minnesota State-Mankato linebacker Isaac Kolstad fighting for his life.

“The Rutgers football family’s thoughts and prayers are with Isaac Kolstad and his family,” Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood said.

Mankato public information officer Shelly Schulz said a second arrest has been made in connection with the assault. Trevor Shelley, 21, of St. Peter, has been booked at Blue Earth County jail on first- and third-degree assault charges like Nelson.

Nelson, a top 2012 recruit, announced in January that he'd be transferring to Rutgers, one of the Big Ten's newest members.

Nelson would have been required to sit out the 2014 season but would have had two years of eligibility remaining. He started 16 games in his two seasons for Minnesota and threw for 2,179 yards and 17 touchdowns, 548 yards and six touchdowns rushing.


Charging documents detail an incident involving Nelson's girlfriend and a bar bouncer who apparently kissed her hand -- or attempted to prior to -- the assault and she told police that Nelson is very protective of her.

Witnesses to the assault say Nelson and Kolstad had a heated exchange of words before the situation escalated to violence, allegedly involving someone kissing Nelson's girlfriend. Kolstad apparently hit Nelson in the upper shoulder with a "non-fighting punch," but that's when a man in a red shirt and jeans struck him in the head and knocked him to the ground by the bus stop. A friend then saw Nelson kick Kolstad in the head once or twice.

The criminal complaint states that Nelson told police he doesn't remember kicking anyone.

Police found Kolstad at 2:09 a.m. Sunday morning near the intersection of Cherry and South Front streets in front of Blue Bricks Bar on a busy night of graduation celebrations. The 24-year-old remains in critical condition at Mayo Clinic Health System-Mankato.

Kolstad's injuries include a skull fracture, brain shifting, brain bleeding and lung damage. Kolstad's skull fracture is on the left side of his head, the same area where Nelson allegedly kicked him. Nelson smelled of alcohol after the alleged assault, charges say.

Both Nelson and Kolstad are Mankato natives. Nelson played in high school for Mankato West and Kolstad for Mankato East, though it's unclear if the two knew each other. Kolstad graduated from MSU-Mankato last December with a degree in business management and administration. He works as a sales representative for Fastenal. He is newly married and has two daughters.
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