'I can chase another dream': Jalen Watts-Jackson gives up football and heads to the Air Force


Jalen Watts-Jackson, who scored the game-winning touchdown in Michigan State's miracle win over Michigan in 2015, is forgoing his college football career and joining the Air Force.

"I am going into the Air Force," Watts-Jackson told SpartanNation.com. "I was raised that it is a good idea to serve your country. I have family members that have served this country including my dad, so I am excited to serve this nation."

He said that he'll specialize in cyber systems operation and security in the Air Force. He could have returned to East Lansing as a fifth-year senior in the fall or played elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

"But in the end, if you don't have dreams of playing beyond college, then you're out there for no reason," he said. "It's a full-time job; it's hard on the body, hard on the mind. I still have faith in my ability to play, but now I'm at a point where I can chase another dream in the Air Force. It was a hard decision, but I'm excited for it. I don't have any regrets."

Watts-Jackson, of Orchard Lake St. Mary's, announced in March that he was leaving Michigan State as a graduate transfer. He was a member of MSU's 2014 class as a 3-star prospect, redshirted his freshman year and played 22 games over the next three seasons, registering eight tackles and one fumble recovery.

The fumble recovery will forever live in MSU football lore, as Watts-Jackson recovered a mishandled Michigan punt attempt with 10 seconds left against the Wolverines and returned it for one of the most stunning touchdowns in college football history.
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Michigan State's Jalen Watts-Jackson (20) runs back a muffed punt by Michigan for the game-winning 38-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Watts-Jackson is joining the U.S. Air Force

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