Jalen Watts-Jackson leaving MSU as grad transfer

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — He’ll likely never pay for a meal around town, but Jalen Watts-Jackson will not finish his football career at Michigan State.

Watts-Jackson, a defensive back from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s who became an instant Spartans legend when he returned a botched punt for a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat Michigan in 2015, announced Tuesday he has asked for his release from MSU and will play his final season elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

“I would like to thank Coach Dantonio and the Spartan football program for the love and support over the past four years,” Watts-Jackson posted on Twitter. “With much thanks to the academic staff I will be graduating this year, and After much consideration I have asked for my release to pursue a new program for my last year. Again Thank you to Michigan State football and Academics Green East Lansing will always be my first home.”

Jackson not only scored the winning touchdown against Michigan, he broke his hip on the play, which only elevated his status among Spartan fans.

However, he was never able to find a regular spot in the secondary. He appeared in 22 games in his career, recording eight tackles and, of course, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.

Watts-Jackson did not take part in spring practice this season.