T.J. Watt
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T.J. Watt

T. J. Watt
refer to caption
Watt in 2019
No. 90 - Pittsburgh Steelers
Position:Outside linebacker
Personal information
Born: (1994-10-11) October 11, 1994 (age 25)
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 17, 2019
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 did not play 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 enter the 2017 NFL Draft.


Wisconsin Badgers
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
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft  in
(1.94 m)
252 lb
(114 kg)
(0.84 m)
11 in
(0.28 m)
37 in
(0.94 m)
10 ft 8 in
(3.25 m)
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.[20] He was also the fourth linebacker taken in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2013.[21]

On June 14, 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Watt to a fully guaranteed, four-year, $9.25 million contract with a signing bonus of $4.87 million.[22][23][24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

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.[27] He became the first rookie to start at linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers since Aaron Jones in 1988.[28] 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 a groin injury. He was declared out for Week 3.[29] 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.[30] He tied Bud Dupree (2014) and LaMarr Woodley (2007) for the franchise record for most sacks by a rookie with his fourth.[31] 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.[32]

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished atop the AFC North with a 13-3 record and earned 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.[33]


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.[34]

Watt started in the Pittsburgh Steelers' season-opener at the Cleveland Browns and recorded a season-high ten combined tackles (seven solo), three sacks, and blocked a potential game-winning field goal during overtime in a 21-21 tie. He earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.[35] On October 7, 2018, Watt recorded eight combined tackles, tied his season-high of three sacks, and forced a fumble in the Steelers' 41-17 win against the Atlanta Falcons. His performance earned him his second AFC Defensive Player of the Week award of the year.[36] He started in all 16 games in 2018 and recorded 68 combined tackles (50 solo), 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, and three pass deflections.[32] He received an overall grade of 75.8 from Pro Football Focus in 2018, which ranked as the 24th highest grade among all qualifying edge defenders.[37]


In week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, Watt recorded 6 tackles and made his first sack of the season on Russell Wilson in the 26-28 loss.[38] In week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers, Watt recorded his first interception of the season off Jimmy Garoppolo in the 24-20 loss.[39] In week 4 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Watt sacked Andy Dalton 1.5 times in the 27-3 win.[40] In week 5 against the Baltimore Ravens, Watt sacked Lamar Jackson once in the 26-23 loss.[41] In week 8 against the Miami Dolphins, Watt recorded two sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick, one of which was a strip sack that he forced and recovered, in the 27-14 win.[42] In the following week's game against the Indianapolis Colts, Watt recorded 1.5 sacks on Brian Hoyer in the 26-24 win.[43] In week 10 against the Los Angeles Rams, Watt recorded 2 sacks on Jared Goff and also forced a fumble in the 17-12 win.[44] In week 11 against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football, Watt sacked Baker Mayfield once in the 21-7 loss.[45] During weeks 12 and 13 against the Bengals and Browns respectively, Watt recorded one sack in each game. On December 5, Watt was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month for his play in November.[46] In week 14 against the Arizona Cardinals, Watt recorded his second interception of the season in the endzone off a pass thrown by Kyler Murray during the 23-17 win.[47] In week 15 against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football, Watt recorded half a sack on quarterback Josh Allen and forced a fumble on running back Devin Singletary which was recovered by teammate Mike Hilton during the 17-10 loss. [48] In week 16 against the New York Jets, Watt recorded a strip sack on Sam Darnold which was recovered by himself during the 16-10 loss. [49] In week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens, Watt recorded half a sack on Robert Griffin III and forced a fumble on running back Gus Edwards which was recovered by teammate Joe Haden during the 28-10 loss. [50]

NFL career statistics

NFL statistics

Led the league
Bold Career high
NFL career statistics
Year Team GP Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Solo Ast Total Sack Int Yards Avg TD PD FF FR
2017 PIT 15 40 14 54 7.0 1 17 17.0 0 7 1 0
2018 PIT 16 50 18 68 13.0 0 0 0.0 0 3 6 0
2019 PIT 16 35 20 55 14.5 2 7 3.5 0 8 8 4
Career 47 125 52 177 34.5 3 24 8.0 0 18 15 4

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.[51] 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 five-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the Houston Texans and was selected in the first round (11th overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. T.J. was teammates with Derek at Wisconsin from 2012-2015. Also during his time at Wisconsin, Watt majored in retailing and consumer behavior.[52]


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  2. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (August 9, 2016). "T.J. Watt continues his climb with Badgers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Baby, Ben (December 31, 2016). "Wisconsin LB T.J. Watt is stepping out from brother J.J.'s shadow to lead Wisconsin at Cotton Bowl". SportsDay. Retrieved 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 2016.
  5. ^ Kaplan, Emily. "Wisconsin's Watt the Third". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ NFL Network (April 5, 2017), Pass Rushers: Game Changers Ep. 2 | Watt, Allen, Harris, & Thomas | 2017 NFL Draft | NFL Network, retrieved 2017
  7. ^ Temple, Jesse (September 29, 2016). "SC on the Road: T.J. Watt carrying on a family tradition at Wisconsin". ESPN. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ Hunt, Tyler (December 20, 2016). "Wisconsin Football: Is TJ Watt Headed to the NFL Draft?". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Bahr, Chris (December 9, 2016). "Watch Wisconsin's T.J. Watt showcase his athleticism on an incredible pick-6". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2017.
  10. ^ Potrykus, Jeff (January 3, 2017). "Badgers linebacker T.J. Watt leaving early for NFL". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2017.
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  12. ^ Lisk, Jason. "T.J. Watt Made a Lot of Money at the Combine, Put Up Outstanding Numbers". thebiglead.com. Retrieved 2017.
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  20. ^ "2017 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ "PIT, LB selected in NFL Draft, Round 1, since 2013". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2019.
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  36. ^ Maya, Adam (October 10, 2018). "Drew Brees, Isaiah Crowell among Players of the Week". NFL.com.
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  42. ^ "Steelers overcome slow start, drop winless Dolphins 27-14". www.espn.com. October 28, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  43. ^ "Vinatieri misses late, Steelers edge Colts 26-24". www.espn.com. November 3, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  44. ^ "Steelers defense leads way in 17-12 win over Rams". www.espn.com. November 10, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  45. ^ "Browns, Steelers brawl at end of Cleveland's 21-7 win". www.espn.com. November 14, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  46. ^ Gordon, Grant. "Lamar Jackson among Players of the Month for Nov". nfl.com. The National Football League. Retrieved 2019.
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External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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