Michigan State DB Jalen Watts-Jackson, hero of 2015 win over Michigan, leaving as grad transfer

Michigan State defensive back <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/244436/" data-ylk="slk:Jalen Watts-Jackson">Jalen Watts-Jackson</a> (20) scored the winning touchdown as time expired against Michigan in 2015. (AP)
Michigan State defensive back Jalen Watts-Jackson (20) scored the winning touchdown as time expired against Michigan in 2015. (AP)

Michigan fans probably never want to hear the name Jalen Watts-Jackson ever again. And now they probably won’t have to next season, at least.

You see, Watts-Jackson’s name invokes the memory of one of the most improbable endings in recent college football memory. You may remember this one:

Sorry, Michigan fans.

Watts-Jackson was the hero who corralled the famous fumbled punt for Michigan State and returned it for a touchdown as time expired to give the Spartans a miraculous 27-23 victory over the rival Wolverines. Now, he is leaving East Lansing.

Watts-Jackson announced Wednesday morning that he will pursue a graduate transfer for his final season of college football.

“I would like to thank Coach Dantonio and the Spartan football program for the love and support over the past four years,” Watts-Jackson wrote in a message 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.”

Watts-Jackson cemented his status as an all-time name in the Michigan vs. Michigan State rivalry when he scooped up Blake O’Neill’s fumble and returned it 38 yards for the winning score. However, Watts-Jackson, then a redshirt freshman defensive back, dislocated and fractured his hip on the play. He didn’t see a whole lot of playing time in the following seasons.

He appeared in nine games in 2016, mostly on special teams, and registered three tackles. He did not record any statistics in six games played in 2017.

Watts-Jackson, who will be immediately eligible at his next school, has not been with the team during spring practice thus far.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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