Nelson, a redshirt sophomore, started 16 games in two seasons for Minnesota and led the team in total offense with 1,670 yards (1,306 passing, 364 rushing) in 2013 while sharing the quarterback duties with dual-threat freshman Mitch Leidner . According to a statement released through the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nelson is looking for a program that emphasizes the passing game more in the offense.
"I have the utmost respect for Coach [Jerry] Kill and what he's done for this program," Nelson said. "I also want to reach out to all the great Minnesota fans that supported the football program and say thank you. Your effort makes a difference. I am looking to play in a system that centers more around the pass game which utilizes my skill sets. I am excited to go out and meet with programs that match up with my talents."
According to the Star Tribune, Nelson met with Gophers coach Jerry Kill on Wednesday and it was "an amicable parting."
"Philip is a terrific young man, and I wish him all the best as he continues his education and football career elsewhere," said Kill in a statement released by the school. "I want to thank Philip for the contributions he made to our football program both on and off the field, and I will do anything I can to help him both now and in the future."
The 6-foot-4, 233 pound Leidner was effective as a rushing threat, with highlights including a 151 yard, four touchdown performance against San Jose State on Sept. 21. However, the freshman recorded double-digit pass attempts just three times all season, completing 55.1 percent of his passes (43-for-78).
Leidner's primary competition in spring practice is expected to be redshirt freshman Chris Streveler .