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QB Philip Nelson will transfer to Rutgers

1/29/2014

Former Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson has found a new school, and he'll be staying in the Big Ten.

Nelson will transfer to Rutgers, according to multiple reports and as first reported by CBSSports.com. The sophomore made the surprising decision to leave Minnesota earlier this month after starting 16 games for the Gophers, including nine in 2013. Nelson said he was looking for a more pass-oriented offense, and he should get that at Rutgers and the Scarlet Knights' reported new offensive coordinator, Ralph Friedgen.

It's a rare intra-conference transfer, but that's mostly because technically it isn't one yet. Since Rutgers doesn't join the Big Ten officially until July 1, Nelson will not lose a year of eligibility as he would if he moved to a school already in the league.

The Knights get another candidate to start down the road at quarterback, a position which hasn't been great for the program recently. Gary Nova returns in 2014 after starting 10 games last season before getting replaced by departed senior Chas Dodd. Freshmen Blake Rankin and Chris Laviano will likely push Nova this spring, and the program is expected to sign well-regarded quarterback prospect Giovanni Rescigno next week.

So Nelson, who completed just 50.5 percent of his passes last season for the Gophers, won't automatically step in as the starter in 2015. If he does earn the job, Minnesota wouldn't worry about facing him until 2016, when Rutgers travels to TCF Bank Stadium for the first Big Ten meeting between the two schools.