Even though offensive players such as wide receivers, running backs, and especially quarterbacks get most of the attention, anybody who really knows their football is well aware that it’s actually good defenses which win football games. Granted, the Houston Texans are off to a rough start in 2015, but that’s not to say that their star player defensive end J.J. Watt isn’t having a great year so far.
They call him the “milk man”, and this nickname is well deserved. He never fails to deliver.
High School and College
Although he stood out as both a tight end and a defensive end while at Pewaukee High School in his native Wisconsin, J.J. Watt was not heavily recruited by major university football programs.
He accepted a scholarship from Central Michigan University, but after an unremarkable season in 2007 playing tight end, he gave up his scholarship and transferred to the University of Wisconsin. There, he made the team as a walk on, and after spending the 2008 season as a red shirt, he was moved to the defensive end position where he excelled during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
Watt was selected 11th overall in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Houston Texans.
J.J. Watt has been terrorizing offenses since his rookie year in 2011, and he has won the award for best defensive player given by the sports writers of the Associated Press twice, in both 2012 and 2014.
J.J. Watt is only one of eight defensive players who have won this coveted award, with the other two time winners being linebacker Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants, defensive end Reggie White of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers , linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens, defensive tackle Joe Greene of the Pittsburg Steelers, linebacker Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, and defensive end Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills. Needless to say, J.J. Watt is in good company, and if he goes on to win the award for best defensive player for a third time, he will be in a class all his own as the first player to do so.
In fact, when J.J. Watt won the AP Award for the second time in 2014, he won so unanimously, and received all 50 votes from the Associated Press sports writers. Watt also received the second greatest number of votes amongst AP writers for the MVP award, receiving 13 of the 50 votes. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ended up winning the 2014 AP NFL MVP award with 31 of the 50 votes. The only defensive players who have won the MVP award are Lawrence Taylor and Alan Page.
J.J. Watt made NFL history in 2014 when he recorded more than 20 quarterback sacks in a single season for the second time, having done the same in 2012. The most sacks ever recorded in a single season was 22.5 in 2001 by Michael Strahan of the New York Giants.
Even though his statistics are extremely impressive, they do not present a complete picture of J.J. Watt as a player. He puts incredible pressure on quarterbacks, and forces many to hastily toss up incomplete passes. Simply put, quarterbacks, other ball carriers, and offensive lineman tremble in fear when they see the lean and imposing 290 pound 6 foot 6 inch frame of J.J. Watt chasing straight after them at speeds that are incredible for a defensive lineman. Watt runs a 40 yard dash in 4.84 seconds, and as a rookie at the NFL combine in 2011 his performed amongst the best in all categories. His vertical leap, for instance, measured over three and a half feet. This amazing combination of speed, agility, and strength makes Watt an absolute threat on the football field.
Both Sides of the Ball
J.J. Watt scored 5 touchdowns in 2014. He recovered a fumble and ran in it 45 yards for a TD against the Indianapolis Colts, and he took an interception 80 yards into the end zone in game against the Buffalo Bills.
However, J.J. Watt scored his three other touchdowns during the 2014 season as an offensive player. Yes, the Houston Texans coaching staff know they can put their extremely athletic and versatile defensive lineman in on offensive as a tight end when they want to startle and confuse opposing defenses.
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