Former starting quarterback for the Minnesota Golden Gophers Philip Nelson made a somewhat surprising announcement earlier this month when he said he would be transferring to play for a program that was more passer friendly and “utilizes my skill sets.” Nelson’s search for a new school is over as he announced that he will transfer to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights where he will have to sit out the 2014 season before using the final two years of his eligibility. There, he should find plenty of success with new Rutgers’ offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen.
Friedgen is the former head coach of the Maryland Terrapins where he went 75-50 from 2001 to 2010. He is credited with rejuvenating a Maryland program that had grown dormant before his arrival, taking them back to the top of the ACC and regularly representing the Terps in the postseason. The Fridge takes over for Ron Prince, who left after the season to join the Detroit Lions in the NFL. He’s a keen offensive mind that will help Rutgers make the transition into the Big Ten in 2014 (where he’ll get to reunite with Maryland on the regular in conference play).
Nelson started 16 games over two seasons with Minnesota but was constantly going back and forth on the starting job in 2013 with Mitch Leidner. In his career as a Gopher, Nelson threw for 2,179 yards and 17 touchdowns while rushing for 548 yards and six touchdowns. But Nelson wasn’t interested in being a running quarterback, which is what the Minnesota coaching staff was trying to make him into. At Rutgers, he’ll have the opportunity to play in a more traditional, pro-style offense that will allow him more opportunities to show what he can do with his arm.
Under the proven leadership of Freidgen, we should get to see exactly what Nelson is capable of when he becomes eligible again in 2015. The Knights appear to have a coordinator with a track record for success and a capable quarterback that can flourish under his tutelage, perhaps setting Rutgers up for a successful transition to a new conference.