Coach Speak: Jalen Watts-Jackson

HYPE trainer Justin Cessante talks about the Spartans commit and what he will bring to the program when he gets to East Lansing.

Orchard Lake St Mary's senior Jalen Watts-Jackson committed to Michigan State back in June after earning an offer at camp.

Spartan Digest chatted with Justin Cessante, a trainer with HYPE Training that works with the high-flying defensive back to see what he will bring to East Lansing:

Spartan Digest: What does Jalen bring to the Michigan State program as a player?

Justin Cessante: "I think No. 1, he will bring his character and his work ethic. He's a humble kid with a great amount of athleticism. I think he has a lot of upside as far as his build and his ability to jump and make a play on the ball."

Spartan Digest: Safety or corner?

Cessante: "I think he's going to be a corner. I think he can play both. I think he has some range. He runs like he's 6-foot-3, even though he might be a little bit under 6-foot. I think that he's going to be a good corner. I think he presses really well and he pays attention to detail on a lot of the press technique. Once he gets the coaching staff at Michigan State working with him and molding him, he will pick up some things and do very well at corner."

Spartan Digest: How long have you been working with him?

Cessante: "I've watched him play the past four years, but I've been working with him the past year-and-half or two. I've had the opportunity to see him grow. I've watched how coachable he is and just appreciate his athleticism."

Spartan Digest: What have you seen him improve at the most in that time?

Cessante: "I think in his technique, keeping his balance and hip leverage, making sure that he's stepping and cutting off leverage and pressing with his hands. I think the ability to play on the ball and improve those skills is huge. Just his technique in man-press (coverage). I think it was very impressive this year. I know he was hurt his junior year and to see him come on in the offseason and prepare for his senior year the way he did and make up for that lack of football experience, he did that lot in 7 on 7 and was able to translate it to the football field and that was impressive."

Spartan Digest: What skills made him such a good prospect for Division 1?

Cessante: "I don't think he's a guy that's going to run the 40 and you're going to say, ‘Oh, my gosh,' even though he's fast. His ability to jump and control his body in the air, whether that was at receiver or at defensive back, is one of his most impressive traits. I think that opened up eyes at the camp we went to at Michigan State and they said based on his character and the way he's able to be coached and his athleticism in the air and the way he can leap and run and control his body was the reason he got a scholarship."

Spartan Digest: You talk about his character, what impresses you about him as a person and what will he bring to the program off the field?

Cessante: "I think he always showed up to work. He's not a kid that just talks a lot. He's very humble, but he's focused. It's hard to find 16- or 17-year-old kids with the limelight on them that keep focused. You know he has a bigger goal in mind and he's always working for that goal."

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