It would have been a pretty good April Fools joke, but as it turns out T.J. Watt is a very real person who yesterday became the third Watt brother--following J.J. and Derek--to commit to the University of Wisconsin. He even has a real Rivals profile, where he was given three stars. He has one for Scout too, but still has only one star at the moment, meaning he has yet to be evaluated by the service.
At 6-4, 200 pounds, Watt has a lot of room to bulk up to whatever position he chooses, likely either defensive end or tight end. He actually has better offers at this stage in the process than either of his brothers, though their names might have helped put his on the radar. Minnesota and sister-school Northern Illinois also put in bids, while Michigan State and Notre Dame were listed on Rivals as showing interest. Watt caught 27 passes for 505 yards and three touchdowns last year for Pewaukee High School.
You're probably wondering and the answer is unfortunately yes: T.J. is likely the last Watt (from this bloodline anyway) coming through the program until the young men have little tackle-eating children of their own. All parties appear to be doing well at the moment. The Houston Texans felt good enough about J.J. starting at defensive end to let Mario Williams walk away for an exorbitant salary with the Bills. Derek is competing for the backup middle linebacker spot behind Chris Borland as a redshirt freshman.
More Monday Links:
Marquis Mason is working his way back onto field after tearing his ACL last year in Spring practice. At 6-4, 223, he has the size and, reportedly, the athleticism to help make up for Nick Toon's departure.
Pre-Snap Read came out with three Danny O'Brien-inspired articles following his transfer to UW. The first takes a look at the Leaders Division race now that we have a quarterback. The second ranks the B1G's best quarterbacking crews. The third once again makes the argument that UW's quarterback shortage was self-inflicted, and less-so connected to unlucky injury breaks, which still doesn't make sense to me but here's a block quote anyway:
This is putting the cart well ahead of the horse. But as we've seen over the last two years, Wisconsin needs to do a better job planning for the future at the quarterback position. Bielema's recruiting strategy is to recruit only one quarterback and one running back in each class. This hasn't hurt him at running back, but the strategy is to blame for his team's quarterback woes.
It has opened Wisconsin up to the everyday issues that occur with every team: injuries and attrition. Others offset such losses by taking three or more quarterbacks over a two-year span; over the same period, the Badgers add only a pair of options at the position.
Wisconsin could have taken a quarterback in the Class of 2011 and didn't. If they had, that QB would have been a redshirt freshman this year and likely nowhere near game-ready. Paul Myerberg also said that "Wisconsin's quarterback consistency was the envy of all but a select few F.B.S. programs," which is worth a pass.
Speaking of which, Bielema says he isn't worried about how bringing in transfer QBs could hurt quarterback recruiting. In fact, the practice could ultimately raise UW's profile in the eyes of higher-rated prospects.
O'Brien may turn out to be a combo deal. Max Garcia started 12 games at left tackle last season for the Maryland Terrapins and is looking for a new home after joining the mass exodus away from Randy Edsall.
Dave Heller does a full roundup of reactions to O'Brien's decision, good and bad.
Justin Schultz just missed the cut for the 2012 Hobey Bake Award.