If you ask anybody in the state of Michigan who Jalen Watts-Jackson is, you’ll likely get two very different reaction depending on whether their allegiance tilts toward Big Blue in Ann Arbor or Michigan State in East Lansing. After all, the former defensive back from Detroit was responsible for one of the most memorable plays in college football history when he scooped up a fumbled punt against Michigan and captured an improbable win in walk-off fashion for the Spartans:
While he’ll never have to buy a meal or drink around East Lansing ever again thanks just to that play, Watts-Jackson’s career after crossing the goal line at the Big House has never gotten back on track. He had to undergo surgery after fracturing his hip in the aftermath of the play and played in just 15 games the past two seasons before announcing a graduate transfer in the spring.
Now we know where Watts-Jackson is headed: Air Force. Only he won’t be in Colorado Springs to play football, but rather to become an officer in the military.
“I am going into the Air Force. I was raised that it is a good idea to serve your country. I have family members that have served this county including my dad. So I am excited to serve this nation,” Watts-Jackson told SpartanNation.com on, quite fittingly, the 4th of July. “My focus is going to be on Cyber System Operations and security. I am taking classes right now to get all of my (computer security) certifications. I have been thinking about it for some time now.”
Congrats to Watts-Jackson on his new pursuit at the Academy, something even Michigan fans will be able to applaud him for even if it brings up a few bad memories from 2015.
It appears yet another head coach will hit the unemployment line in the not-too-distant future.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, the ABC affiliate in Boulder is reporting that “Colorado will part ways with football coach Mike MacIntyre effective at the end of this season.” School officials have thus far declined to comment on MacIntyre’s future with the football program.
Based on a new deal agreed to in January of last year and approved five months later, CU would owe MacIntyre a buyout in excess of $10 million if he’s fired without cause.
In five-plus seasons with the Buffaloes, MacIntyre has posted a 30-43 record overall and 14-38 in Pac-12 play. Coming off a 5-7 season in 2017, the Buffs won their first five games of the season and climbed to 19th in the Associated Press Top 25. However, they’ve dropped five straight since then, with three of the five losses coming by 10 or more points.
Colorado will play its home finale this weekend against Pac-12 South leader Utah before closing out the regular season at Cal a week later. The Buffaloes need to win at least one of those games to reach bowl eligibility.
Right now, there are officially four openings at the FBS level: Bowling Green (HERE), Kansas (HERE), Louisville (HERE) and Maryland (HERE). Last year, 20 FBS jobs came open for one reason or another during the 2017-18 spinning of the coaching carousel.
A few days before a final, final decision needs to be made, it doesn’t appear that Nick Saban is inclined to err on the side of extreme caution when it comes to the triggerman of his high-octane offense.
Late in the third quarter of top-ranked Alabama’s shutout win over Mississippi State, Tua Tagovailoa took a shot to his right knee, the same knee that gave him issues earlier this season, and didn’t return. As a Week 12 date with FCS Citadel looms, conventional wisdom had Saban sitting the Heisman Trophy front-runner and saving him for the annual Iron Bowl grudge match in the regular-season finale.
Essentially, the head coach scoffed in the general direction of that wisdom, stating he has no plans to sit Tagovailoa and that the true sophomore, as well as his teammates, need to do a better job of limiting the quarterback’s exposure to hits.
No,” Nick Saban responded when asked if sitting Tagovailoa is a consideration. “Why would we do that? To say that this is not an important game or he doesn’t need to play? I think we need to do a better job of the people playing around him doing what they’re supposed to do so he doesn’t get hit. And he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball, which he had several opportunities to do. Some of these hits can be avoided just by better execution, and I think that’s what we’re going to focus on, not trying to take a guy out of a game so he can’t improve or do what he needs to do to get better or do what we need to do to get better as a team and develop some confidence in each other.
While Tagovailoa is expected to start — provided, of course, he doesn’t suffer a setback in practice during the days leading up to what’s essentially a scrimmage that counts in the standings — it’s highly likely that his day will consist of, at most, a couple of quarters worth of work.
The Crimson Tide should make short work of Bulldogs as they have beaten FBS teams this season by an average score of 49-13. Against ranked teams, that average is 33-8.
A one-time starting member of Oklahoma State’s secondary has opted to take his leave of Mike Gundy‘s football program.
On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Thabo Mwaniki announced that, after “thoughtful consideration,” he has decided to transfer from the Cowboys. The defensive back gave no specific reason for his decision to transfer.
The fact that the Denton, Texas, native lost his starting job a third of the way through the 2018 season, however, would likely be a good place to start in looking for his reasoning.
Mwaniki, a three-star member of OSU’s 2017 recruiting class, started the first four games of this year. However, the safety was replaced after Week 4 and never returned to the starting lineup. All told, he played in seven games this season, none of which came the last three weeks.
Last season, Mwaniki started two games for the Cowboys; he was the only true freshman on either side of the ball to start a game for OSU in 2018.
In July, Lincoln Riley confirmed that, because of blood clots, Jalen Redmond would not play at all in 2018. However, the true freshman defied the initial medical odds and ultimately returned to play in three games thus far this season.
Unfortunately, that’ll be his only action of the year.
According to Riley, Redmond had a recurrence of the blood clots that plagued him over the summer and will not play again in 2018. Redmond had been medically cleared in October and saw his action in three games that month.
The good news for both the player and the program is that, because of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, Redmond won’t lose a year of eligibility because he played in fewer than five games. Thus, he will have four years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2019 season.
Redmond was a four-star 2018 signee, rated as the No. 8 weakside defensive end in the country; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Oklahoma; and the No. 135 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. Just six of the two dozen signees in the Sooners’ class this year were rated higher than Redmond.