Philip Nelson has had a tumultuous college career to say the least. The rising junior quarterback began his career with the Wisconsin Badgers but transferred to Rutgers in early 2014. After a brutal bar fight that left Division II player Isaac Kolstad from Minnesota State-Mankato in critical condition not long after his transfer, the Scarlet Knights cut ties with the quarterback by dismissing him from the program.
Nelson is now getting another shot, this time in the Conference USA.
According to College Football Talk, the East Carolina Pirates confirmed that Nelson had walked on with the team during spring practices and that he was an official roster member heading into fall training camp. This comes after he was charged with felony assault for the attack on Kolstad and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
Some fans may be thinking “Why in the world would ECU give this guy a shot, knowing his past?” Head coach Ruffy McNeil feels as though Nelson has did the time for his crime and that Nelson has stepped up and taken responsibility for his actions.
“I think it’s human nature and fair to question decisions such as these, but there was a lot of forethought and deliberation about our willingness to allow Phil to join our program as a [walk-on],” McNeill said in a story published by Wilmington Star News. “He did not make a good decision, but has taken responsibility and performed community service, which included cautioning kids about avoiding bad situations. It is my belief the support and leadership core of our football program can help enable him to become the man we know he can be.”
McNeil is taking one heck of a shot on Nelson, so he better hope it pans out pretty well for the Pirates. If not, he could be finding himself in the unemployment line right along with Nelson.
The Pirates open the season on September 5 when they host the Towson Tigers.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports