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Ex-Gophers QB Nelson held in assault; alleged victim in critical condition

By Frederick Melo

St. Paul Pioneer Press

MANKATO, Minn. -- A former Minnesota Gophers quarterback has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a fellow football player and leaving the Mankato man in critical condition.

Former Gophers QB Philip Nelson, 20, was arrested in Mankato early Sunday morning on suspicion of third-degree assault and underage consumption of alcohol, a Blue Earth County official said.

Nelson was booked into the Blue Earth County Jail shortly after the 2:15 a.m. arrest. He will likely be arraigned on Monday or Tuesday.

The victim, former Minnesota State Mankato linebacker Isaac Kolstad, 24, was listed in critical condition Sunday at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato.

Mankato police officers patrolling the downtown entertainment district discovered the two men near the intersection of Cherry and South Front streets, according to a police statement. Police on Sunday were looking for a second person suspected of being involved in the assault.

Nelson's mother, Norma Nelson, declined to comment to the Pioneer Press on Sunday.

Nelson earned the Minnesota Mr. Football award as a student at Mankato West High School in 2011. During the 2013 season, his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota, he started nine of 12 games for the Gophers but transferred to Rutgers in January. The New Brunswick, N.J., university will join the Big Ten athletic conference in July.

Kolstad, 24, attended Mankato East High School and played as a safety with North Dakota State in 2008 and 2009 before transferring to MSU-Mankato. He graduated in December 2013 with a B.S. in management from the school's College of Business.

Jason Baum, a communications officer with Rutgers athletics, had no comment.

"We are in the process of gathering information on the situation and reserve comment until the legal process is complete," he wrote in an email.

Marcus R. Fuller and Raya Zimmerman contributed to this report.

The Pioneer Press is in a media partnership with Forum News Service.