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Tim May | The Columbus Dispatch | October 13, 2016

T.J. Watt goes all out for Badgers

  "I've been J.J. Watt's brother my whole life, so it's all I know." - T.J. Watt

T.J. Watt doesn't mind folks asking the inevitable question: "What's it like to be J.J. Watt's younger brother?"

It comes with the territory when your older brother is considered one of the elite defensive players in the NFL and you're playing linebacker at his alma mater, Wisconsin.

"There's a lot of expectations people may think come with it, but at the end of the day I'm a Wisconsin football player first," T.J. Watt said. "Our motto is 'smart, tough and dependable,' and I think that carries over to what my name represents as well, being a smart football player as well as being tough and dependable in all phases of the game.

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"I don't think that there's any added pressure like others like to make out. Like I tell people all the time, 'I've been J.J. Watt's brother my whole life, so it's all I know.'"

What he and his brother have in common is an energetic approach, a joy after making a play that's obvious to all.

"I've dreamed of being in this moment for so long that now that I'm here why would I take it so serious that I'm not having fun?" the fourth-year junior said. "I've been wanting to play college football on the big stage in front of 80-something-thousand people my whole life, so ... why not make the most of it and have a blast?

"Because you don't know how long it's going to last. I've gone through two knee surgeries. I've been out for a year and a half, two years, and now that I'm back I'm hungry for success, I'm hungry to see my team successful, and just have fun with it. It's hard to make a play in the Big Ten against some of the best players in the country, so when you do you've got to celebrate.

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Wisconsin cornerback Sojourn Shelton is a Watt fan, and it's because of that wattage that he brings to the field.

"Just a high-motor guy," Shelton said. "I think when people see him outside of football he's a quiet, calm, just to-himself dude. But when he gets on that field he transforms to somebody else.

"Playing alongside of him, it's extremely fun, especially being somebody I connect with a lot and talk to a lot on the field during games and in practice."

That's the only way to play, Watt said, and he learned that from his brother.

"The biggest thing he's taught me is don't ever take a play off ... just to have the mindset you can make a play on any given down," he said.

"You don't know when your time is going to be up playing this game, and you don't want to have regrets, so approach each play like it's your play to be made."

This article was written by Tim May from The Columbus Dispatch and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

 

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