Sept 8, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Gophers quarterback Max Shortell (11) runs for a first down before getting tackled by New Hampshire Wildcats line backer Matt Evans (52) at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 44-7. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Backup quarterback, Max Shortell, transferring

In an interesting move on Tuesday, the Minnesota football program announced that sophomore quarterback Max Shortell would be transferring.  He is leaving after two seasons of primarily being a backup.

Shortell threw for over 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns during his two years. He played in over half of the games this season for the Gophers.

The backup quarterback was in line to be the second-string play caller once again next season behind freshman Philip Nelson.

In an official release, Jerry Kill proclaimed that he would assist Shortell in his journey in looking for other programs.

“Max is an outstanding young man, and I respect and understand his decision to transfer,” Kill said. “I will help him in any way I can and wish him all the best as he continues his education and football career elsewhere.”

Shortell was first forced into action as a true freshman for Minnesota last season.  After MarQueis Gray went down with an injury in the opening game at USC, the young quarterback was shoved into the spotlight.  He threw for a touchdown and an interception in the narrow 19-17 loss to the Trojans.  He later started at Michigan.

He started four games this season, accumulating for two of Minnesota’s early wins in non-conference play.  After strong performances against Western Michigan and Syracuse, it looked like the Gophers would keep Shortell in the role.  Yet, after two lackluster performances against Iowa and Northwestern, the sophomore was pulled from the starting role for Nelson.

With Shortell transferring, Minnesota will have to look elsewhere for the backup role as Gray is graduating.  The next player in line will be Mitch Leidner.  Leidner, a Minnesota native, redshirted this season for the Gophers.  The only other quarterback on the roster is Dexter Foreman.  In terms of recruiting, Minnesota is slated to bring in Illinois dual-threat signal caller Chris Streveler.

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Tags: Football Gophers Minnesota Minnesota Golden Gophers Philip Nelson Recruiting

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