American Football Database
American Football Database
J.J. Watt
Watt in 2012.
No. 99     Arizona Cardinals
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1989-03-22) March 22, 1989 (age 32)
Place of birth: Waukesha, Wisconsin
High School: Pewaukee (WI)
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 295 lb (134 kg)
Career information
College: Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11
Debuted in 2011 for the Houston Texans
Career history
* Houston Texans ( 2011 2020)
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
* Pro Bowl (2012)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 17, 2012
Tackles     137
Quarterback sacks     26.0
Interceptions     1
Forced fumbles     4
Passes defensed     20
Stats at
File:JJ Watt-Sideline.jpg

J.J. Watt on the sideline for the Wisconsin Badgers

Justin James "J. J." Watt[2] (born March 22, 1989) is an American football defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Wisconsin. He was drafted 11th overall by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft. He played with the Houston Texans from 2011 all through 2020 season.

Early years

Watt was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He attended Pewaukee High School in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. He played both defensive end and tight end. Watt also lettered in baseball, basketball, and track during his high school career. As a senior, Watt was state champion in the shot put. In addition, he played (ice) hockey for ten years between the ages of 3 to 13 before he quit and eventually became a multi-talented student athlete in the four other sports listed above.[3][4][5][6] He has two younger brothers, Derek Watt, who currently plays for Wisconsin, and TJ Watt, who on February 6, 2013 signed his letter of intent to play at Wisconsin.

College career

Central Michigan

Watt attended Central Michigan University for one year in 2007. While there, he played tight end and caught eight passes for 77 yards. Frustrated by his lack of direction at Central Michigan, he transferred to Wisconsin. During this time he began delivering pizzas and had a somber encounter with a fan, where he regained his focus, telling himself, "I don't want to be delivering pizzas. I want to be playing football."[7]


After being redshirted in 2008, Watt started all 13 games at defensive end in 2009. He finished the season with 44 tackles and four sacks.

In the 2010 season, Watt finished the regular season with 59 tackles, seven sacks, two fumble recoveries, and an interception.[8] Watt was the 2010 recipient of the Lott Trophy and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award.

College statistics

Year Team Tackles TFL–yards Sacks–yards FR
2009 Wisconsin 44 15.5–53 4.5–19 2
2010 Wisconsin 62 21.0–91 7.0–56 2
College totals 106 36.5–144 11.5–75 4

Professional career

On January 6, 2011, Watt announced that he would forgo his senior year of college to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

2011 NFL Draft

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 5 in 290 lb 4.81 s 1.64 s 2.71 s 4.21 s 6.88 s 37 in 10 ft 0 in 34 rep 31

Houston Texans

On April 28, 2011, Watt was drafted 11th overall to the Houston Texans.[12] On July 31, 2011, Watt was signed to a four-year contract with the Texans worth $11,237,000, which includes a signing bonus of $6,672,000.[13]

Rookie Season

In his first regular season game with the Texans, Watt recorded five tackles (all solo) and recovered a fumble.

Watt finished the regular season with 56 tackles (48 of them solo stops), 5½ sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 passes defensed, and a blocked field goal.

In the Texans' first ever playoff game on January 7, 2012 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Watt intercepted quarterback Andy Dalton and returned it for his first career NFL touchdown to give Houston a 17-10 lead. The Texans won 31-10. Interestingly, Dalton had been the Quarterback that beat Watt's Badgers in the 2011 Rose Bowl the year before.

In the Divisional Round against the Baltimore Ravens on January 15, 2012, Watt sacked quarterback Joe Flacco 2½ times, equal to fellow rookie Brooks Reed. However, the Texans lost 20-13, ending the franchise's first playoff run.

2012 Season

During the week 12 Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions, Watt broke the Texans franchise record set by former teammate Mario Williams for most sacks in a single season. Watt finished the regular season with 81 tackles (69 solo), 20.5 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and an astonishing 16 passes defended - a statistic usually reserved for defensive backs.[14] Making his All-Pro debut, he was a unanimous choice for The Associated Press All-Pro team.[15] Because of his knack for batting balls down at the line of scrimmage, he was nicknamed "J.J. Swatt" by Monday Night Football commentator and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden.[16]

Watt became the first player in NFL history to record 16.5 sacks and tip 15 passes in a single season after a Week 13 victory against the Tennessee Titans. He was a starting defensive end for the AFC Division in the 2013 Pro Bowl. J.J. Watt and the Texans were in the top of the AFC for the first sixteen weeks, but with a loss to the Colts in week 17, with Broncos and Patriots wins, they slid down to the third seed and faced the Cincinnati Bengals in the wildcard round for the second consecutive postseason. In the game, J.J Watt had 5 tackles and a sack. He helped the Houston defense hold Bengals to 6 (offensive) points to give Texans a 19-13 victory. The Texans played at the Patriots (#2 seed) in the divisional round. J.J. Watt and the defense were not as dominant in this match and allowed 41 points. Watt only had 4 tackles and 0.5 sacks in the game, and the Texans were eliminated with a final score of 41-28. On January 15, 2013, Watt was selected as the AFC Defensive Player of the Year.[17] On February 3, 2013, Watt was awarded the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, receiving 49 of the 50 total votes.[18]

2013 season

File:Philip Rivers, JJ Watt, Nick Mangold 2014 Pro Bowl (cropped).jpg

Charitable Work

Watt founded and serves on the board of directors of the Justin J. Watt Foundation which provides support to after-school athletic programs in Wisconsin and Texas.[19][20]


  1. Gantt, Darin. "J.J. Watt is the AFC defensive player of the month". NBC Sports. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  2. Lucas, Mike (2011-07-19). "Lucas at Large: Catching up with J.J. Watt". Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  3. Witrado, Anthony (2007-06-17). "More than one field of dreams: Pewaukee senior a multi-sport standout". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  4. Kryk, John (2012-10-19). "Hockey first love for gigantic Texans defender". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  5. Kukla, Paul (2012-11-23). "J. J. Watt and Hockey". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  6. Dunne, Tyler (2012-10-14). "Green Bay Packers: Houston's J.J. Watt poses a problem". Retrieved 2012-12-08.
  7. "Solomon: Texans' first-round pick Watt driven to succeed - Houston Chronicle". 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  8. " profile". Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  9. "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles - J.J. Watt". Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  11. "Combine workout leaders: Wonderlic test". Pro Football Weekly. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  12. "Watt to enter NFL draft - - The Official Web Site of The Wisconsin Badgers Athletics". Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  13. [1][dead link]
  14. J.J. Watt Stats
  15. announced
  16. Packers must account for the Watt swat
  17. "J.J. Watt Named NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year". Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  18. Gregg Rosenthal (2013-02-02). "J.J. Watt near unanimous Defensive Player of the Year". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
  19. Watt wins Lott IMPACT Trophy - - The Official Web Site of The Wisconsin Badgers Athletics
  20. Welcome to Justin J. Watt!

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Terrell Suggs
NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Succeeded by

fi:J. J. Watt