Texans star J.J. Watt: ‘Nobody accomplishes their dreams alone’

“When you figure your dream out, remember it will not be a straight path. Stay committed. Never lose sight of what it is you want to accomplish.”

Bryce Richter / University of Wisconsin-Madison

J.J. Watt is pretty talented.

The Houston Texans star returned to the University of Wisconsin to deliver the spring commencement speech to graduates drawing upon his life lessons without using a written out speech.


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“Calm down. I got it, alright?” Watt said at the Kohl Center on Sunday. “Just because I didn’t write a speech down does not mean that I didn’t prepare.”

Watt, who played two seasons at Wisconsin before being drafted No. 11 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Texans, decided to not use a teleprompter to deliver his memorable speech to nearly 8,000 students at his alma mater.

“When you figure your dream out, remember it will not be a straight path,” Watt said. “Stay committed. Never lose sight of what it is you want to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way, and don’t be afraid to help others along their path.”

The 30-year-old Wisconsin native told the crowd he didn’t need help writing the speech and opted to not use any notes because everything was going to be in the moment. He shared lessons he’s learned in his life and told graduates to believe in themselves and be open to life’s possibilities.

“Nobody accomplishes their dreams alone. I implore you to find somebody on this planet who has accomplished their dreams without the help of another human being. Nobody does. You need help. Good and bad, both positive and negative,” Watt said.

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year discussed his money-raising efforts for Hurricane Harvey recovery, which he said taught him a lesson about humanity and himself. Watt raised over $40 million through a social media campaign for relief efforts.

“Try to change the world for the better as you go,” he continued. Watch the full speech in the video below.


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Kyle Schnitzer|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at kschnitzer@theladders.com.