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Montana State safety Jahque Alleyne takes a break between drills during fall camp on Aug. 7 at Dyche Field.

Keeping to himself, remaining indoors was just fine. Jahque Alleyne had nowhere else to go.

The Virginia native wasn’t quite used to the winter conditions of Montana. Big cities were his normal, not Bozeman.

Alone in a place he hardly knew, Alleyne reminded himself this was all for a reason.

He transferred from Virginia Tech. He moved across the country. He enrolled at Montana State. All of this was to advance his football career.

The Bobcats senior has done that. He’s established himself as a ball-hawking post safety that provides MSU the presence necessary to play its style of defense. Alleyne will again be key when the No. 12-ranked Bobcats (6-3, 3-2 Big Sky) play at Northern Colorado (2-7, 2-3) at noon Saturday in Greeley, Colorado.

“I don’t regret coming here either,” Alleyne said. “I came here for a reason, a purpose.”

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Montana State’s Jahque Alleyne carries the ball against North Dakota earlier this season in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Alleyne, a three-star recruit out of high school, considered going to Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and West Virginia. He settled on the Hokies and played as a freshman. In a state where he grew up loving football, he was contributing at a Power Five program.

He doesn’t regret going there. He liked the coaches’ resumes, Tech’s facilities, the city's food and the campus scenery. But he felt misled. He was playing but wasn't at the top of the depth chart, and Tech was recruiting more elite talent at his position. He wanted to take control of his career path rather than leave it in the hands of others, so he decided to transfer.

Alleyne knew former MSU secondary coach Mark Orphey when he was recruiting him at South Carolina. He liked the idea of somewhere new and another shot to prove himself. So he moved in January 2018, having only known one potential teammate and no real guarantee of playing.

“It was somewhere different,” Alleyne said. “I knew I had a shot here, so I took the shot.”

The only way he feels misled now is the amount of snow in Bozeman is more than he anticipated.

Alleyne was loud and energetic the moment he joined the team, MSU safety Brayden Konkol said, but he fit right in. Konkol took one look at the now 6-foot-1, 187-pound Alleyne and felt he looked the part of an FBS-level defensive back.

His assertion was cemented the minute Alleyne began playing. His fluidity and athleticism were remarkable, his intuition for disrupting passes exceptional.

“He’s just an athlete. He’s a difference maker,” Konkol said. “He’s just a great dude and a great addition to our team. And I’m glad he came here.”

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Montana State safety Jahque Alleyne takes a break between drills during fall camp on Aug. 7 at Dyche Field.

Alleyne’s instincts were evident in his first MSU game when he intercepted a pass during Gold Rush against Western Illinois. He looked like he had made such plays on much larger stages many times before. But it was actually his first collegiate pick.

Alleyne needed little time to learn MSU’s defense. He finished his junior season with five interceptions and as an all-conference honorable mention. 

The Bobcats run a post high defense, meaning they needed a post safety to roam the back end. And the coaches had stressed takeaways during the previous offseason. Alleyne was everything MSU needed.

“Que's very much an innate player. He's just got a great feel for the game and really plays the ball well in the air,” MSU head coach Jeff Choate said. “So that's an easy deal for us.”

Alleyne felt he immediately fit in with the team dynamic. How he talked, what he knew and where he came from was all different, he said, but he instantly began building bonds. He even forged a friendship with safety JoJo Henderson, who was competing against Alleyne for a starting spot in MSU’s secondary last fall.

Familiar with his teammates, his friends now, Choate’s noticed an improvement in Alleyne’s communication and understanding of the defensive scheme. MSU’s safeties are like the quarterbacks of the defense because they can see the entire field and make calls or adjustments. Once a newbie, Alleyne helps ensure everyone on the team is working in sync.

Alleyne’s speed, range and ball skills make him versatile, MSU defensive coordinator and secondary coach Kane Ioane said. He can line up deep and make quarterbacks fearful to take a deep shot. He can move closer to the line of scrimmage and help stop the run. And he can line up in the slot and defend man to man.

“He’s a ball hawk at that safety position, which is exactly what you want,” Ioane said. “He’s going to find a way to get around the football, get the ball out and has done that an amazing number of times over the course of his second year playing. It’s been fun to watch."

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Montana State’s Jahque Alleyne recovers a fumble in the end zone against Texas Tech earlier this season in Lubbock, Texas.

Alleyne has provided even further value for the Bobcats this season. He’s forced a fumble and recovered another while recording three tackles for loss, a sack and an interception. He’s also MSU’s leading kick and punt returner. One of his punt returns set up a key touchdown in MSU’s comeback win over Northern Arizona.

Ioane loves the calm and collected presence Alleyne has been. But between plays, he loves ecstatically celebrating team accomplishments, no matter if they’re his or someone else’s. That’s a sign, Ioane said, of how he fits in the team’s chemistry.

“He’s been awesome about buying into the culture here,” Choate said. “He’s appreciative of getting a second chance and has been an important part of our team. He’s well liked in the locker room, and those guys get along. And that matters. That’s important.”

Alleyne has proven exactly what he hoped to when he moved to Bozeman in the cold of winter. He’s accomplished the goal of his transfer by earning his shot to play and an education. He’s shown he can be a ball hawk. He’s displayed improvement. He’s proven his belief in himself wasn’t for nothing.

And his confidence remains. He’s sure his football career isn’t over after he graduates. He’s tried to gain weight and speed to prepare himself for a professional career.

He doesn’t regret anything. A decision like playing for Virginia Tech taught him. A decision like transferring to Montana State rewarded him.

Wherever his career takes him, he’s accomplished his mission.

Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.