Rutgers quarterback Philip Robert Nelson has been kicked out of the Scarlet Knights' football program following his arrest on assault charges stemming from a fight in Minnesota over the weekend that sent a former Minnesota State University, Mankato, linebacker to the hospital in critical condition.
Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood made the announcement Tuesday. He said the "Rutgers football family's thoughts and prayers" are with the injured player, 24-year-old Isaac Kolstad.
A police statement said officers came across Kolstad while patrolling the city's downtown entertainment district around 2 a.m. Sunday. The 20-year-old Nelson was arrested at the scene and taken to the Blue Earth County jail, the statement said. He faces two counts of felony assault.
Kolstad was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, where he is said to be fighting for his life after suffering brain damage in the assault. He graduated from Mankato East and spent two seasons at North Dakota State in 2008 and 2009, did not play in 2010, then transferred to Minnesota State for his junior and senior years. He started all 12 games last season and finished third on the team in tackles.
Nelson left the Minnesota Gophers in January to transfer to Rutgers, which is moving into the Big Ten next season. He played in 11 games last season, but said Rutgers offered a more pass-friendly offense. He completed 50.5 percent of his passes for 1,306 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions last season. He also rushed for 364 yards and six touchdowns while sharing quarterback duties with Mitch Leidner.
Nelson was going to sit out the 2014 season and then would have had two seasons of eligibility left. Nelson was a star at Mankato West High School, where he was both Minnesota's Mr. Football and the Associated Press Player of the Year in 2011.
A phone message left at a number listed for Nelson's parents in Mankato was not immediately returned.
A second suspect in the assault was taken into custody Tuesday.