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Updated: December 4th, 2012 1:08pm
Quarterback Max Shortell leaving Gophers, Jerry Kill announces

Quarterback Max Shortell leaving Gophers, Jerry Kill announces

by Nate Sandell
1500ESPN.com
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Max Shortell apparently read the writing on the wall.

The sophomore quarterback will transfer for the upcoming school year and football season, Gophers football Jerry Kill announced on Tuesday.

"Max is an outstanding young man, and I respect and understand his decision to transfer," Kill said in a statement. "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's transfer decision does not come as much of a surprise. He played in seven games this season but in essence became the third-string quarterback once the Gophers decided to remove freshman Philip Nelson's redshirt on Oct. 20 at Wisconsin. Nelson has been the Gophers' primary quarterback in the five games since, with senior wide receiver/quarterback MarQueis Gray available as option No. 2.

In two years at the "U",  Shortell completed 91 of 170 passes (53.2%) for 1,162 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Shortell most recently appeared in the Gophers' last two games -- losses to Nebraska and Michigan State -- as a fourth quarter replacement. He combined for 62 passing yards on five completions in that span (5-for-11).

Shortly after his transfer was announced, Shortell tweeted: "Thanks to all the Minnesota people that supported me. I loved it here, hate to leave, but its my best option. Best of luck to Gopher nation."

Shortell's departure leaves an opening at quarterback on the Gophers' depth chart. That likely means a brief promotion to the No. 3 spot for redshirt freshman Dexter Foreman. With freshman Mitch Leidner redshirting this season, Foreman is the team's only other available quarterback behind Nelson and Gray, heading into the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 28.

But next season, Leidner will be the frontrunner for the Gophers' main backup QB role, with Nelson set as the starter.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to 1500ESPN.com.
Email Nate | @nsandell
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