Fonoti, Jackson return to football team fully recovered from injuries

Fou Fonoti and Travis Jackson are looking forward to getting back on the field with their brothers.

Both offensive linemen were injured early in the season last year and were forced to watch from the sidelines as the
Spartans stumbled to a 7-6 finish.

“I know it’s my last opportunity for these guys, so just do it for them and sacrifice it all, and continue to see what I need to progress on, and if God’s willing, just get out there and showcase it,” Fonoti said.

After playing 136 snaps the first two games of the season, Fonoti injured his foot before the third game of the season against Notre Dame.

Jackson left the Ohio State game after injuring his knee and breaking his leg.

He said the training staff and coaches played the biggest role during his recovery.

“The injury was tough, and it’s tough not being out there with the guys,” Jackson said. “Our training staff is so awesome. Now, I’m out here in spring. Being out here with the guys, it’s just an honor to put the green and white back on and be out here with the teammates.”

He said he and Fonoti used each other to help get through their injuries, and when he decided to come back, it made the leadership on this year’s team much better.

When Fonoti transferred to MSU from Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif., two years ago, he only planned on playing
two seasons in Spartan green and white.

“I think one thing I struggled with was just being away from home for awhile,” the Lakewood, Calif., native said.

“When I decided to come back for another year, it was kind of tough for me to tell my family and tell my girlfriend that. It took some time for them to accept it, but I knew this was the right decision.”

He left his mom, brothers and sisters, grandparents and their more than 30 grandchildren to play
football at a place he now
calls his “home away from home.”

Even while injured, head coach Mark Dantonio and the coaching staff allowed Fonoti to keep his role with the team and continue to build his relationships as a leader.

“It was truly humbling,” Fonoti said.

“A lot of times when a guy gets injured, it’s kind of next guy steps up, and you kind of feel like you’re forgotten. For (Dantonio) to still include me in team stuff was truly humbling for me, and I was grateful for the experience.”

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