A story seemingly ripped from a script out of Hollywood comes J.J. Watt, defensive end for the Houston Texans.
Watt, a 6-foot-5, 295 pound product out of Wisconsin, is considered by many the current front runner for the Defensive Player of the Year award with his league leading 8 ½ sacks and eight passes defensed. ESPN analyst Jon Gruden has even nicknamed him 'Swatt.'
However, many may not realize the amazing journey the second year starter has been on in order to reach this level of play in the National Football League; a journey that even involved humbly delivering pies for Pizza Hut.
"It's been a long journey, but it's been a lot of fun," Watt told USA TODAY Sports.
Watt battled his way onto the Wisconsin Badger football team as a walk-on after playing tight end at Central Michigan. But even making it that far wasn't easy. Returning to his home state definitely fueled his fire to kick it up a notch.
Originally from Pewaukee, Wis., Watt's revelation to take his game to the next level came while on a pizza delivery run in which a 10-year old boy at the door noticed the former Pewaukee High star. While only taking community college classes and working for Pizza Hut at the time, the boy asked him why he wasn't playing football.
"That was a powerful day in my life, a humbling moment that reiterated my drive to be great and get to the top as a football player," Watt told USA TODAY.
After sitting out the 2008 season, that moment inspired Watt to call up Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema. The result was All-Big 10 honors in 2009 and 2010.
Watt said to USA TODAY, "I've been back to that Pizza Hut a couple of times and every time I drive by, I get that feeling, 'I used to work here, delivering pizzas, mopping floors and now I work in the NFL,'" says the 6-5, 295-pound Watt.
And the rest seems to be history. The Texans drafted Watt with the 11th overall pick in 2011 and he's been unbelievable since. Last year, as a rookie, he stepped up in Houston's first ever playoff game after intercepting a pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, returning it 29 yards for a touchdown.
This past Monday night in the Texans' win against the New York Jets, Watt was a one-man wrecking crew, deflecting three passes that turned into two interceptions.
Houston leads the AFC in points per game (14.6) and yards per game (275.6) in 2012. However, Watt's role is about to be relied on more than ever after linebacker Brian Cushing went down with a season-ending knee injury on Monday night.
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