Guangdong-born American footballer Jackson He made his mark on college football this past weekend, picking up his first points as an Arizona State Sun Devil with a running touchdown in the waning minutes of their blowout win over state rivals Arizona Wildcats.
According to ESPN, running back He is believed to be the first Chinese-born footballer to score in the Football Bowl Subdivision (made up of the top 10 college football leagues in the US). He picked up one yard for the final touchdown of the game, with seven minutes remaining.
He, in his third year at university, only started playing American football when he was 17 and walked onto the Arizona State football team in 2019. The game against the Wildcats was his first, with the running back attempting four runs and picking up seven yards in total.
American Football Gains Traction in Shanghai
According to Yahoo Sports, He came to the US from China at the age of 17, and played one year of football at his high school in San Diego, before later walking on to the Arizona State team and impressing with his running; he was then added to the scout team.
Speaking about the score after the game, He said, “I want to prove that Chinese can play really good football. I have a chip on my shoulder. I want everybody to recognize us. We can have success not just in basketball, but in football too.”
He also took to Chinese social media platform Weibo to celebrate the score, writing “This is just the beginning! Thanks everyone for your support! I will continue to work hard.”
Notably, He celebrates his Chinese heritage by using the Chinese characters for his name on the back of his jersey — 何佩璋. The running back’s English name, Jackson, was taken because of his love for pop singer Michael Jackson.
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