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Former Gophers QB Nelson kicked off Rutgers team; second arrest made in Mankato assault

By Joseph Denton

Special to Forum News Service

MANKATO — Blue Earth County Jail officials identified a second suspect in the assault on former Minnesota State University-Mankato football player Isaac Kolstad in downtown Mankato early Sunday.

Police identified Trevor Stenner Shelley, 21, of St. Peter, from a downtown surveillance video of the altercation that broke out as partons left a Mankato bar.

Shelley was booked Monday evening on suspicion of first- and third-degree assault, the same charges former University of Minnesota QB Philip Nelson is facing.

According to the criminal complaint, Kolstad punched Nelson in the upper back and knocked him and a friend to the ground.

The video showed a man in a red T-shirt running across a street to the fight.

Shelley allegedly ran over to Kolstad and struck him first. Kolstad fell to the ground hard, and possibly unconscious, and that’s when Nelson allegedly came in and kicked Kolstad in the head multiple times.

Kolstad, 24, was rushed to the emergency room in the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato. He suffered a skull fracture on the left side of his head, where he was kicked.

Kolstad had surgery Tuesday morning and remained in critical condition, according to a post on by Blaine Kolstad, Isaac’s father.

Nelson, 20, was taken into custody at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Nelson, who was a Minnesota Gopher quarterback before transferring to Rutgers, was released from the Blue Earth County Jail on $20,000 bail.

He also was dismissed from the Rutgers football program Tuesday.

Kolstad, who was celebrating his college graduation on the night he was assaulted, started all 12 games for the Mavericks at linebacker last season. His 59 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss gave him Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference South Division All-Conference First Team Defense honors.

He and his wife, Molly, are expecting their second child.

Before asking for a transfer to Rutgers, Nelson threw for 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns and six interceptions, and ran for 364 yards and six touchdowns in the Gophers’ 2013 campaign.

Both Kolstad and Nelson played high school football in Mankato as cross-town rivals — Kolstad for Mankato East and Nelson for Mankato West.

Kolstad started his college football career at North Dakota State before transferring.

Denton writes for The Reporter, the campus newspaper at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

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