MADISON, Wi. Former Wisconsin football player J.J. Watt gave an inspirational commencement speech to the University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates on Saturday afternoon.
The Waukesha, Wisconsin native attended UW-Madison from 2008-10. He left school a year early to enter the NFL Draft where he was selected No. 11 overall to the Houston Texans.
Watt isn't just known for his domination on the football field. He's also known for his philanthropic work, especially after Houston was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Watt launched the Justin J. Watt Foundation with a goal of raising $200,000. In just a couple of months, Watt raised over $41 million, including a $100,000 donation from himself.
Watt has been through some of his own adversity as far as injuries go. He had a season-ending back injury in 2016 and a season-ending leg injury the following year. At commencement, he gave an inspirational speech to the UW-Madison graduates about adversity and the exciting future they have ahead of them.
"You just earned a degree from one of the best universities in the country and you have an entire world and so many opportunities in front of you," Watt said. "You may not know what your dream is, you may not know exactly what you want to accomplish and that's okay. When you figure your dream out, remember it will not be a straight path."
Watt spoke for about 20 minutes. He didn't write out his speech, instead he made a list of topics he wanted to get across to the audience.
"Stay committed," Watt said. "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. Remember that there will be dark days, you will go through difficult times, but they are learning opportunities, they are growing opportunities and you can come out on the other side better than you went in."