GopherSports.com will be posting interviews with many of the newest Gophers from the 2012 signing class throughout the remainder of the winter and spring. The next profile in our series is a conversation with quarterback Philip Nelson of Mankato, Minn.
Nelson enrolled in school in January so he could participate in Spring Practice. CBS Sports' Tom Lemming ranked Nelson as the 2nd best pro-style quarterback in the country and tabbed him as his "National Sleeper of the Year." He was ranked as the 15th best pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, the 46th best quarterback overall by Scout.com. Both Scout and Rivals rated Nelson as a three-star prospect.
GopherSports.com: How does it feel to officially be a Gopher?
Philip Nelson: It's really fun. I love working with the team and getting better every single day as a team.
GopherSports.com: When did you know you wanted to be a Gopher and what was the experience like when you informed the coaches you'd be coming to Minnesota?
Philip Nelson: I knew that I wanted to be a Gopher probably a week before I committed. When I officially committed, my whole family was there. It was a pretty special moment.
GopherSports.com: Why did you decide to enroll early?
Philip Nelson: It was just the right situation for me. I love the whole coaching staff and the offense really fit into what I needed to do. All my faith is in these coaches and I really believe that everything is going to turn around and it'll be really special to be a part of that turnaround.
GopherSports.com: What are your thoughts about next season, whether you play or red-shirt?
Philip Nelson: It's a win-win situation for me. Either I get to learn more about the offense and what the Big Ten is really about or I get to play. Whatever the coaches want to do, it'll be fine with me.
GopherSports.com: What are your goals for next season?
Philip Nelson: I want to continue to get better and to give it my all in practice. A more specific one is to get that Axe back where it belongs.
GopherSports.com: What are your goals for your college career? When it's all said and done, where do you want to be?
Philip Nelson: I want to win a Rose Bowl. I mean I want to win any bowl games to start off. I want us getting over .500 and eventually getting up to the point where we could get into the Big Ten Championship Game. Personally, I want to get my degree and maybe get a shot to make it to the next level.
GopherSports.com: Is there a particular athlete that you try to model yourself after?
Philip Nelson: Not really, to be honest. I'm just kind of my own person I guess.
GopherSports.com: How do you feel about the new uniforms?
Philip Nelson: They're really sharp. It's nothing crazy like an Oregon or a Maryland which is a good thing. They're sharp and they have a lot of meaning and tradition to them. That's really special and something a lot of other schools don't have, so that's pretty unique on our part.
GopherSports.com: What is your favorite TV show?
Philip Nelson: Probably SportsCenter.
GopherSports.com: Who is your favorite musical artist?
Philip Nelson: I'd have to say Brad Paisley.
Interview by Athletic Communications Student Assistant Mitch Praxl