Jackson He made history Saturday.
The Arizona State player is believed to be the first person born in China to ever suit up for a football game at the FBS level. The FBS is made up of teams from the ten top conferences of division 1 football.
Brobible reports He broke down in tears when he received his jersey for the game Saturday and saw his name on the back of his uniform written in Chinese script.
He stood in uniform on the sidelines of the Arizona State – UCLA game Saturday, but did not play
Jackson took his name from his favorite pop star, Michael Jackson. His parents sent him to the United States at the age of 17 to further his education. He enrolled at Lutheran High School near San Diego.
The football coach saw his 250 pound frame and urged him to try out for the team.
The eventual running back did, although he had never played the game before and knew his parents back in China would disapprove. He made the team, but didn’t tell his mom and dad.
“We had to teach him how to run that first year,” his coach Ron Allen said to Arizona Family. “When he’d get the ball, he’d take really short steps. His feet would move so dang fast. We had to teach him to stride it out. It was like pistons going.”
He would play two seasons of football at Lutheran before briefly playing for the University of Jamestown in North Dakota.
He played one year there, then returned to China before enrolling at Arizona State University in 2019 and joining the ASU Sun Devils this season as a walk on player.
When he arrive at ASU, he emailed the coaches, but they ignored him. Undeterred, he walked into the coaches office and declared he wanted to join the team as a walk on-meaning he was unrecruited.
A staff member asked him to send them game film. When they saw it, ASU running backs coach Shaun Aguano took notice.
“We thought he was a very productive guy that could bring a little bit to our room in regards to depth,” Aguano said to Arizona Family. . “When I met with him, that intrigued me the most. He’s a very, very, very intelligent kid. He had a great personality. I thought those characteristics in our running back room would help, especially our younger kids.”
He says his teammates have taken an interest in Chinese culture and he’s been more than happy to teach them.
“Knowing that I’m the only one at this level, this opportunity is rare,” He told Talk of the Devils podcast host Brad Denny, according to the South China Morning Post.
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