Jalen Watts-Jackson was once upon a time, a hero for Michigan State. His fumble return against Michigan with just seconds left on October 17, 2015, will forever be in the minds and hearts of anyone with a link to the Spartans. Now, he has decided to forgo his final year of collegiate football to focus on a different career path.
Watts-Jackson will be joining the Air Force, following the footsteps of his father who also served in the military prior to the birth of Watts-Jackson in 1995. Watts-Jackson will reportedly specialize in cyber systems operations and security whilst serving in the Air Force.
It was initially thought that the former MSU player asked for his release so that he could start searching for another school to play at as a graduate transfer. Instead, he will become a hero within his own right yet again, albeit in a different way to how he is seen by some now.
Watts-Jackson will be in Michigan State folklore for many years to come, if not forever in MSU history. He may have broken his hip whilst making the play of a lifetime against their arch rivals, but as he said to WJBK Fox 2 Detroit “Even to this day I can remember it but it’s still like a blur, it happened so fast”.
The Spartans would make the college football playoffs that year, before falling to the national champions in Alabama when they met in the Cotton Bowl. Some say that this win set the tone for the rest of the season for the Spartans, with the wave of confidence coming out of that particular play against Michigan. Watts-Jackson would spend another two academic years at Michigan State afterwards, never really cementing his spot as a starter but cementing his spot in MSU history.
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