Watt Adapting to New Role

Similar to his brothers, freshman T.J. Watt welcomed his change of positions after arriving at the University of Wisconsin. A year after taking snaps and running Pewaukee High's offense, the youngest Watt is transitioning to the tight end role in his first fall camp.

MADISON - The last of the Watt brothers to finally make it to Camp Randall Stadium for fall camp, freshman T.J. Watt has spent the first two weeks of fall camp trying to keep up with Wisconsin's veteran tight ends and to adjust to the college level practices of head coach Gary Andersen. Like most, it's been a process.

Occasionally at the end of practices, Andersen will dismiss the veterans and keep Watt and the rest of rookies behind for more practice; all part of his philosophy to give the newcomers more reps. Once Watt ran off the field the first time or two, it took him a second to catch his breathe.

"One word: fast…really fast," Watt said one such session. "Compared to high school, the tempo is a lot faster, but you just have to catch on. A lot of the summer workouts have helped and having the playbook on the iPads helps, too. I'm just trying to catch on to the tempo and eventually I will get there."

While Watt is trying to catch on to the "fast…really fast" practices, he also has to focus on learning his new position at tight end, especially after making only 27 catches his junior year and none last year since he was his team's quarterback. And like his brothers, Watt didn't take anything shortcuts or skip any steps in his preparation.

"I've gained 26 pounds since last season and gaining the weight was big for me," said Watt. "I've been working a lot on my footsteps. Since I was quarterback last year, I wasn't do tight end work so it was big to work on my footsteps and hands. Obviously I hadn't been catching balls as quarterback so I worked a lot on that this past summer."

The 6-5, 235-pound Watt worked hard to get his body from the quarterback volume to an ideal tight end size. Along with the guidance from his two older brothers, Derek and J.J., in the weight room and on the field, Watt has put on the right size and attitude for fall camp.

"You have to be alert at all times during practice," said Watt. "You don't know if the coach is going to come up to you and correct what you do. You just have to soak it up and be a big sponge with everything they say to you. It's important to take criticism and just work from it every single day."

With critiques from his brothers, Watt learned quickly to stay quiet and listen, doing his best to take advantage of the fall camp and soak up all the information each day.

"The hard thing about it is there are a lot of tight ends so the reps are minimal," said Watt. "When you get in there you just have to make the most out of your opportunities."

read more about T.J. and Derek Watt's journey in following their big brother in October's BadgerNation magazine, due out in mid-September