J.J. Watt returned to Wisconsin to deliver note-free commencement address

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
Houston star <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/24798/" data-ylk="slk:J.J. Watt">J.J. Watt</a> delivered the commencement address at Wisconsin on Saturday, and he kept it short and sweet. (Robin Alam/Getty Images)
Houston star J.J. Watt delivered the commencement address at Wisconsin on Saturday, and he kept it short and sweet. (Robin Alam/Getty Images)

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt didn’t write anything down ahead of time before he stepped up to the podium on Saturday.

He didn’t want to.

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“Calm down. I got it, alright?” Watt told the crowd at the Kohl Center in Madison Wisconsin. “Just because I didn’t write a speech down does not mean that I didn’t prepare.”

So, as Wisconsin’s official keynote speaker at the spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, Watt delivered his speech teleprompter-free.

He initially wanted to just wing the speech on the spot, but wisely decided to at least think about what he was going to say beforehand. Still, he didn’t tell anyone what he was going to talk about.

“[My girlfriend] asked to see it, and I said no,” Watt said.

The 30-year-old played two seasons at Wisconsin before his impressive NFL career, recording 106 total tackles in two seasons for the Badgers in 2009 and 2010. He was then drafted No. 11 overall in the 2011 NFL draft, and has dominated with the Texans ever since.

Coming into the ceremony, Watt knew that the students in Madison, Wisconsin, didn’t want a long, drawn out speech to end their collegiate careers.

“I have some things I want to get across, but let’s be honest, they all just want to go drink beer afterward,” Watt said before the speech, via USA Today. “They’re excited. I know how commencements go. They just want the person to give a cool message for about five minutes and then get off the stage.”

So that’s what he did, and it seemed to go over well.

Finally, nearly a decade after he first left the campus without attending the ceremony himself, Watt was able to see a graduation at Wisconsin.

“Tomorrow when you wake up, probably around like 2 p.m., you’re going to begin a journey toward new dreams,” Watt said. “You’re going to have new goals. You’re going to have new things you want to accomplish. As you go along that journey toward your new dreams, remember to help a few people out along the way.

“Remember to try to change the world for the better as you go.”

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