Watt received the award named for Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott on Sunday night at the Pacific Club. It honors on-field performance and personal character among defensive players.
Watt led the Rose Bowl-bound Badgers with 21 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries and seven sacks this season. He also forced three fumbles, recovered two, had an interception and blocked three kicks. He is the first Wisconsin player to win the award.
Watt is an honor student and has formed his own charity to benefit local elementary and middle schools that lack funding. He began his college career at Central Michigan, worked at a Pizza Hut for six months while trying to earn a scholarship to Wisconsin, and eventually won a starting spot on the defensive line.
Wisconsin will receive $25,000 for its general scholarship fund.