COUGAR TRACKS

NFL Star JJ Watt Praises Former BYU TE Matt Bushman For Creating Foundation

Jan 23, 2021, 4:21 PM | Updated: 4:33 pm

JJ Watt - Matt Bushman...

NFL star JJ Watt and former BYU TE Matt Bushman. (Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – One of the inspirations behind former BYU TE Matt Bushman creating a foundation was NFL star, JJ Watt.

Bushman announced his Matt Bushman Foundation earlier this week, and the goal of the foundation is “to find ways to provide kids with sports opportunities.”

Watt, a 10-year NFL sack artist and Walter Payton Man of the Year award recipient with the Houston Texans, started his JJ Watt Foundation upon graduating from the University of Wisconsin. The JJ Watt Foundation has provided funding in excess of $5,000,000 to 6th-8th grade after school athletic programs and organizations.

Bushman explained what went into the decision to create a foundation during an interview with me and host Matt Baiamonte on KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL NewsRadio, Noon-3 p.m.).

“I saw that JJ Watt started a foundation in college, and it was kind of similar. He started out super basic, found ways to provide schools with sports equipment and new jerseys. And now that he’s a prominent NFL player, he’s got this nationwide foundation, and it’s super cool to see how much it grew.

“After the 2017 season [at BYU], going into the 2018 season, I was like, man, I want to make this happen. I just realized that the legal work and all the paperwork is really confusing on that end. So I kind of had to put it on pause for a while. But after I got hurt and just having time during the pandemic, I decided to find family, friends, and people that can help me with that confusing side of the foundation, and we got that all squared away. I’m excited to launch it.”

JJ Watt gives praise to Matt Bushman and his foundation

JJ Watt gave Bushman praise for creating the foundation and noted that he was inspired by a former college football star in Dr. Myron Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar, out of Florida State.

“Honored to have been able to pass along the inspiration, having once been inspired in a very similar fashion myself,” wrote Watt. “My foundation was inspired by Dr. Myron Rolle and his charitable work while playing at Florida State. Good on you @mbush89, keep paying it forward! #DBWH (Dream Big, Work Hard).”

Bushman launched a website for his foundation, MattBushmanFoundation.com, where visitors can donate to support the foundation’s causes. According to the current NFL Draft hopeful, the Matt Bushman Foundation’s first projects will target Utah County.

“We want to find ways to get new sports equipment for youth correctional facilities and also youth rec centers in the Utah County area,” said Bushman to KSL Sports. “So that’s our first project, and we’re excited to get going with it.”

In three seasons with the BYU football program, Bushman led the Cougars in receiving yards each season, totaling 1,719 career yards. He missed the 2020 season due to an Achilles injury and is currently training with EXOS in preparation for Pro Day at BYU in March or April.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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NFL Star JJ Watt Praises Former BYU TE Matt Bushman For Creating Foundation