T. J. Watt

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T. J. Watt
No. 90 – Pittsburgh Steelers
Position:Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1994-10-11) October 11, 1994 (age 24)
Pewaukee, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:252 lb (114 kg)
Career information
High school:Pewaukee
(Pewaukee, Wisconsin)
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 30
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 11, 2018
Total tackles:103
Forced fumbles:5
Pass deflections:8
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Trent Jordan "T. J." Watt (born October 11, 1994) is an American football outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Wisconsin, and was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. His older brothers are J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Derek Watt of the Los Angeles Chargers.[1][2]

College career

Coming out of Pewaukee High School, Watt was rated as a three-star recruit by various recruiting services.[3]

Watt started his collegiate career as a tight end recruit for the Wisconsin Badgers.[4] Watt's knee was injured in the 2014 season and he was in the recovery process until the middle of the 2015 season.[5] He also never played a game from October 2012 to September 2015.[6]

In July 2015, Watt was asked by head coach Paul Chryst to switch to a defensive position as a redshirt sophomore.[4] Badgers' outside linebackers coach Tim Tibesar recalled Watt's position change saying, "At that time, even though he was in his third fall at Wisconsin, it was kind of like having a freshman come in. You're trying to teach him for the first time how to play outside 'backer in our system."[7] After the fourth game of his junior season, he led the Big Ten conference in sacks.[4] In the Michigan State game, he was named the Big Ten Player of the Week and was given the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week Award.[4]

During the 2016 season, Watt recorded 59 total tackles and 11.5 sacks.[8] Additionally, he recorded an interception and a defensive touchdown during the Badgers' game against Purdue.[9] Watt also received first team All-American honors by Sports Illustrated and second team honors by The Associated Press for his play during the 2016 season.[10] On November 29, 2016, Watt was named First Team All-Big Ten.[11] On January 3, 2017, Watt announced on Twitter that he would forgo his senior season and will be entering the 2017 NFL Draft.


Year Team GP Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Comb Total Ast Sack Int Yards Avg TD PD FF FR
2015 Wisconsin 8 7 3 4 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 2 0 0
2016 Wisconsin 14 63 38 25 11.5 1 17 17.0 1 4 2 1
Career 22 70 41 29 11.5 1 17 17.0 1 6 2 1

Professional career

Watt received an invitation to the NFL Combine as one of the top edge rushers in the draft and completed all the combine drills. Among linebackers, Watt finished second in the vertical jump and three-cone drill, tied for first in the broad jump (with Jabrill Peppers), and also tied for first in the short shuttle.[12] He attended Wisconsin's pro day, along with Dare Ogunbowale, Vince Biegel, Corey Clement, Sojourn Shelton, and six other teammates.[13] Green Bay Packers' General Manager Ted Thompson and Pittsburgh Steelers' head coach Mike Tomlin were among the 65 team representatives and scouts present for his pro day as Pittsburgh Steelers' linebacker's coach Joey Porter, Carolina Panthers' and New York Jets' outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene led Watt's positional drills. The majority of NFL draft experts and analysts projected Watt to be a late first round or second round pick . He was ranked the second best outside linebacker in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com, ranked the fourth best outside linebacker by NFL analyst Bucky Brooks, and was ranked the ninth best edge rusher by Sports Illustrated.[14][15] ESPN also ranked Watt the 44th best prospect available in the draft.[16]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 4 12 in
(1.94 m)
252 lb
(114 kg)
33 18 in
(0.84 m)
11 in
(0.28 m)
4.69 s 1.59 s 2.71 s 4.13 s 6.79 s 37 in
(0.94 m)
10 ft 8 in
(3.25 m)
21 reps
All values from NFL Combine[17][18]

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Watt in the first round (30th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[19] Watt was the fourth linebacker selected and the second outside linebacker. He is also the fourth linebacker taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2013.


On June 14, 2017, the Steelers signed Watt to a fully guaranteed, four-year, $9.25 million contract with a signing bonus of $4.87 million.[20][21][22]

He entered training camp competing with James Harrison for the starting right outside linebacker position. Watt was named the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting right outside linebacker to begin the regular season.[23] Watt saw action in the NFL for the first time in the team's first preseason game against the New York Giants, where he made two sacks in the 20–12 victory.[24]

Watt made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener against the Cleveland Browns on September 10, 2017, where he recorded seven combined tackles, two sacks, and one interception, which came off of quarterback DeShone Kizer, as the Steelers won by a score of 21–18. He recorded his first career sack, tackle, and interception during the game and returned the interception for 17-yards.[25] He became the first rookie to start at linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers since Aaron Jones in 1988.[26] The following week, he assisted on two tackles before leaving during the first half of the Steelers' 26–9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings with groin injury. He was declared out for Week 3.[27] On October 22, 2017, Watt made six combined tackles and made his fourth sack of the season on Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton during the Steelers' 29–14 victory.[28] He tied Bud Dupree (2014) and LaMarr Woodley (2007) for the franchise record for most sacks by a rookie with his fourth.[29] Watt finished his rookie season with 54 combined tackles (40 solo), seven pass deflections, seven sacks, and an interception in 15 games and 15 starts.[30]

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished atop the AFC North with a 13-3 record and received a playoff berth. On January 14, 2018, Watt started his first career playoff game and recorded two combined tackles and deflected a pass in the 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC divisional round. Pro Football Focus gave Watt an overall grade of 78.4 in 2017, which ranked 46th among all edge rushers.[31]


Watt entered training camp slated as a starting outside linebacker. Head coach Mike Tomlin named Watt and Bud Dupree the starting outside linebackers to begin the season, alongside inside linebackers Vince Williams and Jon Bostic.[32]

In Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns, Watt recorded 11 combined tackles, four sacks, and blocked a potential game-winning field goal in overtime in a 21-21 tie in Cleveland, earning him AFC Defensive Player of the Week. 3 days later, the NFL removed one sack.[33] In Week 5, Watt recorded three sacks, a forced fumble, and eight tackles in a 41-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons, earning him his second AFC Defensive Player of the Week award of the year.[34]

Personal life

Watt was raised by his parents, Connie and John Watt, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. His father was a firefighter for 25 years and his mother is the vice president of an independent inspections company. His two older brothers, J.J. and Derek, both played at Wisconsin and are both currently playing in the NFL.[35] Derek is a fullback for the Los Angeles Chargers and was selected in the sixth round (198th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. J.J. is a four-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the Houston Texans and was selected in the first round (11th overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was teammates with Derek at Wisconsin from 2012-2015. During his time at Wisconsin, Watt majored in retailing and consumer behavior.[36]

While the parents of the Watt boys surely had their hands full, the boys learned to turn their competitive drive to help each other get better in their respective position. When on family vacations, which the family enjoyed regularly, the boys would often stay together and improve on their skills. Towards the later years of oldest brother J.J.’s college career, however, it became more difficult for the family to travel without him being recognized, and the brothers even joked around about being his bodyguards when the fans would become too much for the football star.[37]


  1. ^ Kaplan, Emily (October 12, 2016). "Wisconsin's Watt the Third". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  2. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (August 9, 2016). "T.J. Watt continues his climb with Badgers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  3. ^ Baby, Ben. "Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt is stepping out from brother J.J.'s shadow to lead Wisconsin at Cotton Bowl". SportsDay. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Galloway, Jason (September 27, 2016). "Badgers football: T.J. Watt becoming star for UW just a year after position change". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Emily. "Wisconsin's Watt the Third". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ NFL Network (April 5, 2017), Pass Rushers: Game Changers Ep. 2 | Watt, Allen, Harris, & Thomas | 2017 NFL Draft | NFL Network, retrieved April 11, 2017
  7. ^ Temple, Jesse (September 29, 2016). "SC on the Road: T.J. Watt carrying on a family tradition at Wisconsin". ESPN. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  8. ^ Hunt, Tyler (December 20, 2016). "Wisconsin Football: Is TJ Watt Headed to the NFL Draft?". Fox Sports. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Bahr, Chris (December 9, 2016). "Watch Wisconsin's T.J. Watt showcase his athleticism on an incredible pick-6". Fox Sports. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  10. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (January 3, 2017). "Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt leaving early for NFL". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "2016 Big Ten Individual Award Winners" (PDF). www.grfx.cstv.com. Big Ten Conference. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Lisk, Jason. "T.J. Watt Made a Lot of Money at the Combine, Put Up Outstanding Numbers". thebiglead.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  13. ^ Owen Riese (March 15, 2017). "Former Wisconsin Badgers work out for scouts at pro day". buckys5thquarter.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  14. ^ "*T.J. Watt, DS #2 OLB, Wisconsin". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  15. ^ Brooks, Bucky (April 25, 2017). "Bucky Brooks' top 5 2017 NFL Draft prospects by position 3.0". NFL.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  16. ^ Legwold, Jeff. "Ranking 2017 draft's Top 100 Players". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  17. ^ Galloway, Jason (March 6, 2017). "2017 NFL Combine results for former Wisconsin Badgers". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  18. ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - T.J. Watt". Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  19. ^ Orr, Conor. "Steelers draft T.J. Watt". NFL.com. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
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  21. ^ Varley, Teresa (June 14, 2017). "Steelers sign No. 1 draft pick". Steelers.com. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  22. ^ Daniels, Tim. "T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers Agree to Rookie Contract". BleacherReport.com.
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  24. ^ Patra, Kevin. "T.J. Watt has 2 sacks in first preseason game". NFL.com. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  25. ^ Sessler, Marc. "Steeler's extend Brown's losing streak on opening day". NFL.com. Retrieved September 10, 2017.
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  27. ^ Goldberg, Rob (September 22, 2017). "T.J. Watt out vs. Bears with Groin Injury". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  28. ^ "NFL Player stats: T.J. Watt (2017)". NFL.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  29. ^ Bryan DeArdo (October 23, 2017). "T.J. Watt chasing Steelers' rookie record for sacks". 247sports.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  30. ^ "NFL Player stats: T.J. Watt (career)". NFL.com. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  31. ^ "Pro Football Focus: T. J. Watt". profootballfocus.com. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  32. ^ Chester, Simon. "Steelers publish their first depth chart of the 2018 season". behindthesteelcurtain.com. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  33. ^ Teope, Herbie (September 12, 2018). "Mahomes, Fitzpatrick among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  34. ^ Maya, Adam (October 10, 2018). "Drew Brees, Isaiah Crowell among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
  35. ^ Haley, Andy (April 28, 2017). "How T.J. Watt Transitioned From Tight End to a Top NFL Linebacker Prospect". stack.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  36. ^ "Wisconsin Badgers football: T.J. Watt bio". uwbadgers.com. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  37. ^ "Inside the Watt family photo album: European excursions, cruises, more". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

External links