DE J.J. Watt Will Forgo Senior Season at Wisconsin and Enter 2011 NFL Draft

Chris Faig@@ULuminaryCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2011

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 16: J.J. Watt #99 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a sack against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Camp Randall Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 31-18. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Junior Defensive End J.J. Watt has announced that he has decided to enter the 2011 NFL Draft instead of returning to Wisconsin for one more season with the Badgers.  

An open letter was written by Watt to Wisconsin fans and students, and was posted on the school's official website reading, "At this time, I have made the decision to enter the 2011 NFL Draft. 

"It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to play in the National Football League, and through hard work and dedication, that dream finally has a chance to become a reality.  This has, without a doubt, been one of the most difficult decisions of my life, and it is one that was not reached quickly, or easily."

Watt began his collegiate football career as a tight end at Central Michigan in 2007, but has quickly flourished into one of the most dominating defense ends in the nation, helping the Wisconsin Badgers win their first Big Ten championship since 1999.

Showing his loyalty for the University, Watt went on to say, "I will be a Wisconsin Badger for life and am forever grateful for all of the love and support that the fans, administration and community have shown to my family and I during my time in Madison.  I could not have asked for better coaches to play for, better teammates to play alongside, or a better fan base to represent throughout my collegiate career."

This season J.J. Watt was an absolute best, recording a total of 62 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.  Watt was also ranked third overall in the nation in tackles for losses, with 21.  

Watt received the 2010 Lott Trophy which honors the on-field performance and personal character among defensive players, and is projected to be selected within the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft.  Watt has the dedication and skill set to be an immediate factor on any NFL team and has the potential be one of the most dominant defensive players in the National Football League.