The nation watched last year as Jalen Watts-Jackson ran a last second special teams play back for a touchdown leading the Michigan State Spartans to a 27-23 win over the Michigan Wolverines. Sadly the nation watched Watts-Jackson cry out in pain laying in the end zone as his Spartan teammates surrounded him.
He suffered a fractured and dislocated hip that required surgery in Ann Arbor before ever returning to East Lansing. Forget football, people feared for his return to 100% health. Months ahead of schedule that had hoped he would be able to return possibly during the season, Watts-Jackson is back at MSU spring practice and back playing football.
Spartan fans and teammates instantly started calling him, “The legend,” because big plays (like the one he made) against Michigan are never forgotten in East Lansing.
I asked MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio if he was shocked and he said, “Yeah I am. He went through winter workouts sort of limited, but worked towards it. I thought he looked pretty good. Moving around and looks active.”
Did Dantonio see this coming? I spoke with him earlier this year and he didn’t then. He told me, “I know he is a tough guy and he wants to be out here. He has looked extremely hard, therapy etcetera to get back out here. He looked good. He ran with the threes today, but that might change tomorrow. He looked good.”
Some things are bigger than football. Like the health of the young person. That is why not only seeing Jalen Watts-Jackson healthy, but back playing football is amazing. Welcome back Jalen!
Relive the game winning touchdown moment right here: