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Rutgers dismisses QB Philip Nelson following assault charge

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Philip Nelson announced he would transfer out of Minnesota in January. (USATSI)
Philip Nelson announced he would transfer out of Minnesota in January. (USATSI)

Rutgers has dismissed Philip Nelson following an incident that resulted in an assault charge for the Scarlet Knights quarterback and left a former Minnesota State linebacker in critical condition, "fighting for his life."

Nelson was arrested early Sunday morning and has been charged with one count of first degree assault and one count of third degree assault, both felonies in the state of Minnesota.

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

The incident took place in downtown Mankato, Minn. over the weekend. Video surveillance showed a confrontation between Nelson and Kolstad, a former Minnesota State linebacker, then a second unidentified man delivered a punch that dropped Kolstad to the ground.

Nelson then allegedly kicked Kolstad in the head because he was upset that he had kissed his girlfriend on the hand, per a criminal complaint obtained by NJ.com that detailed the incident. Doctors aren't sure whether Kolstad will survive.

"He is currently in critical condition and fighting for his life," Blaine Kolstad, Isaac's father, wrote on caringbridge.org Sunday night. "He is young and strong, but the battle he has in front of him is enormous. ... We do know that his brain did sustain permanent damage. We do not yet know to what extent and won't for many days. He is very sick. Please pray for Isaac and all of those involved."

A candlelight vigil for Kolstad was held at Minnesota State University in Mankato on Sunday night.

Nelson transferred to Rutgers from Minnesota after the 2013 season. Nelson appeared in 12 games for Minnesota in his 2013 sophomore season, starting 9 and throwing for 1,306 yards. Citing a desire to play in a more pass-friendly system, he announced his transfer in January and later chose to play for Rutgers.

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