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Philip Nelson says he's leaving Gophers football team

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Breaking news this evening as Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson has told KFAN's Dan Barreiro that he is leaving the football program.

"I want to thank Coach Kill for the opportunity to play football at the University of Minnesota," Nelson said in a statement, according to the Star Tribune. "I have the uttermost respect for Coach Kill and what he's done for this program. I also want to reach out to to all the great Minnesota fans that supported the football program and say thank you. Your effort makes a difference.

"For me, 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."

Nelson played in nine games and started 12 last season for the Gophers, who finished 8-5 and lost to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl, 21-17 in late December.

Nelson struggled in the passing game and ended the season sharing time at quarterback with redshirt freshman Mitchell Leidner.

In the bowl matchup Syracuse, Nelson started the game only to be replaced by Leidner for the majority of the game. Nelson finished 2-7 passing for 18 yards while Leidner finished 11-22 for 205 yards and a pair of long touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to nearly help the Gophers pull the comeback.

For the season, Nelson finished with 1,306 passing yards and nine touchdowns.

With Nelson out Leidner becomes the immediate favorite to start at quarterback.

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