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Jackson State tight end deals with ‘racist attacks,’ other vitriol after dropping TD pass: reports

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Jackson State tight end Hayden Hagler dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass from quarterback Shedeur Sanders in Deion Sanders’ final game as the school’s head coach Saturday.

The pass from Sanders to Hagler in overtime went off the tight end’s fingertips. Jackson State couldn’t punch the ball in on 4th-and-goal and NC Central would take home the win, 41-34, in the Celebration Bowl.

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Jackson State Tigers tight end Hayden Hagler (84) scores a touchdown against the Florida A & M Rattlers during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium.
(Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports)

Hagler was seen in the locker room with his head in his hands, and Deion Sanders had a classy moment with his player, telling him to pick his head up.

“That’s not on you,” Sanders said. “It’s on us.”

And while Sanders was the voice of reason in the locker room, Hagler was subjected to a ton of vitriol and hate on social media. HBCU Gameday, which covers athletics for Historical Black Colleges and Universities, reported that Hagler – who is White – was also subjected to “racial attacks.”

DEION SANDERS’ RUN AT JACKSON STATE ENDS IN DEFEAT, TIGERS DROP SECOND STRAIGHT CELEBRATION BOWL IN OT THRILLER

Sep 4, 2022; Miami, Florida, US; Jackson State Tigers tight end Hayden Hagler (84) celebrates a touchdown against the Florida A&M Rattlers during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium.

Sep 4, 2022; Miami, Florida, US; Jackson State Tigers tight end Hayden Hagler (84) celebrates a touchdown against the Florida A&M Rattlers during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium.
(Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports)

Pastor E. Dewey Smith, from the House of Hope in Georgia, also shared messages on his Facebook post showing the negative comments Hagler was receiving, including death threats, over a dropped pass.

Hagler is a redshirt sophomore from Louisiana and isn’t used much in the offense in general until his number was called in the biggest game of the season. In 2022, he had one touchdown catch and nine receiving yards.

Jackson State tight end Hayden Hagler drops a pass in the end zone during overtime of the Celebration Bowl NCAA college football game against North Carolina Central, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Atlanta.

Jackson State tight end Hayden Hagler drops a pass in the end zone during overtime of the Celebration Bowl NCAA college football game against North Carolina Central, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)

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Jackson State ended their season 12-1. Sanders, and his son, are on their way to Colorado for the 2023 season and beyond.

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