MADISON — University of Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt will leave school early and declare for the 2017 NFL draft.
Watt made his announcement on social media Tuesday, a move confirmed by the university. The redshirt junior played in all 14 games for the Badgers this past season and led the team with 15.5 tackles for loss, including 11.5 sacks. Watt made 63 total tackles and had an interception and two forced fumbles.
Watt tweeted that the decision wasn’t an easy one, but that it’s the right one for him at this time. Watt earned a place on The Associated Press All-America second team this year.
“This season has been an absolute blast. I could not have asked for a better group of guys to play with, better coaches to play for, or a better fan base to represent. Playing for the University of Wisconsin has always been a dream of mine and I am extremely fortunate to have been able to fulfill that dream. After thinking over the options and discussing them with my family, I have decided that the time has come to continue my journey and declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. This decision was by no means an easy one, but I feel that it is the right decision for me at this time. Thank you to all of my teammates, coaches and you fans for the incredible memories. Once a Badger, Always a Badger.”
His two older brothers, Derek and J.J., both play in the NFL. J.J. also left the Badgers in his junior season to enter the draft.