T.J. Watt rang up 10.5 sacks last autumn, and was named a First-team All-American by both Sports Illustrated and ESPN.com. That's not bad, considering the Wisconsin outside linebacker played defense for all of two seasons in his life.
"I'm only scratching the surface," Watt said Saturday at the Combine in Indianapolis. "I've only played defense for 18 or 20 months."
Watt came to the Badgers as a tight end, and redshirted in 2013. He lost 2014 to a knee injury, made the
position switch, and played 13 games in 2015 for the nation's number one scoring defense.
But in 2016, he flourished. A starter for all 14 games, he tallied 15.5 tackles for loss and was a consensus First-team All-Big 10 selection. Understandably, the Badger is bullish on his future.
"If I can do all the things I did this last year what can I do when I'm under the tutelage of an NFL coach," Watt said.
Watt's older brothers Derek and J.J. play in the NFL with the Chargers and Texans respectively. He said he's picked up some good Combine tidbits of advice from the 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"He said it's crazy, don't be surprised how much they have you doing and just be yourself," Watt said. "You don't really have free time here and just enjoy the process."
Derek is a fullback with Los Angeles. J.J. and T.J. were both adept at getting after opposing quarterbacks in their final seasons at Wisconsin. But many have compared the youngest Watt not to his oldest brother, but to Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews.
"It's great," Watt said. "Anytime you get compared to a great player like that it's a great comparison, I personally don't shape my game after anyone else."
On Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Watt ran the 40-yard dash in 4.69 seconds, and was able to leap 37 inches vertically. He also recorded a 128 inch broad jump.