MSU hero Jalen Watts-Jackson healthy, ready to go

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Jalen Watts-Jackson returns the fumbled punt for a TD on the final play to beat Michigan last season.

East Lansing – Preseason camp for Michigan State kicked off on Saturday, and on Monday, coach Mark Dantonio and the Spartans met with the media.

While one of the most popular players from last season wasn’t part of the group to take part in media day, there was still plenty of interest in defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson.

The hero from last season’s victory over Michigan is healthy and ready to go. He took part fully in spring practice after breaking his hip on the final play against the Wolverines and is listed as the No. 3 free safety for Michigan State.

“He's a guy that obviously had the huge play last year, which catapulted him to folklore attention,” Dantonio said on Monday. “I think he's a great football player. Great ball skills. He can tackle. He's tough … has a bright future. Got to stay healthy like everybody as you go through this.”

Watts-Jackson, of course, scooped up the botched punt in the final seconds of last season’s matchup with Michigan and went 38 yards for the winning score as time expired. He broke his hip on the play and had to be carted off the field, raising his hand to the few Spartan fans still celebrating inside Michigan Stadium.

He’ll have a tough time cracking the two-deep in a talented secondary, but he’ll give it a shot if completely healthy.

“Thus far there's no indication of his hip being a problem whatsoever,” Dantonio said. “He's moving really well. He's a very good athlete. He's an explosive player.”

5 former players find work on Dantonio’s staff