Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt preps for season
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Football is a family business for the Watt clan at Wisconsin.
After surviving two knee injuries and a position change, T.J. Watt is ready to show his stuff at outside linebacker in his fourth year with the Badgers.
"This is 100 percent what I love to do. This is exactly what I want to be," Watt said. "I want to be physical. I want to rush the passer and I want to get to the football. That's exactly what I want to do."
Oldest brother and former Badger J.J. Watt is entering his sixth season as a defensive end with the Houston Texans and is a three-time NFL defensive player of the year. Fullback Derek Watt, who roomed with T.J. last year, is preparing for his rookie season with the San Diego Chargers.
The 6-foot-5, 243-pound T.J. Watt is expected to make his first college start when Wisconsin faces LSU on Sept. 3 at Lambeau Field.
"At the end of the day I'm my own person. They're their own people," T.J. Watt said. "But I'm definitely looking forward to making my family proud and keeping the legacy going."
Watt joined the program in 2013 as a tight end and was redshirted in Gary Andersen's first season as head coach. He missed the entire 2014 season after he injured his right knee in training camp. He then injured his left knee early in the spring of 2015 and was moved to outside linebacker last summer where he gradually became comfortable in his new home.
"The learning curve was real steep at first but toward the end it started coming natural to me, getting more and more reps," he said.
After making it through last season injury-free, Watt attacked offseason workouts with a vengeance. He made such an impression on new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox that he was placed with the No. 1 defense on the first day of spring ball.
"He works at his craft. He's a physical, tough guy. He's got good ability, really good," Wilcox said. "He's talented, big and fast. I just think the sky's the limit for him. I'm real excited about where he's headed."
Watt said that playing spring ball also helped him adjust to his new position. He added that he can't wait to play opposite returning senior outside linebacker Vince Biegel.
"We've got the mad man on the other side," Watt said. "We're alike. We both like to get after the pigskin and get it. We're going to wreak havoc and destruction."
Biegel is also eager to line up with the youngest Watt this season.
"Like me, he's a bigger linebacker who can get after the quarterback," Biegel said. "He's got great role models in his life with his older brothers. T.J. is going to be a great asset for this defense."