Jerry Harris, 'Cheer' Star, Recalls the Moment He Met NFL Defensive End JJ Watt (Exclusive)

"We can. We will. We Must." That's the mindset and chant of the Navarro cheerleading team that became so well known when their very own docuseries, Cheer, hit Netflix. While some viewers going into the smash-hit may have felt cheerleading isn't a real sport, the public quickly learned otherwise when they witnessed the famous team push their bodies to the limit. As they stunted through injuries, perfected their pyramid, learned to work through their differences, they came out on top, despite all of their medial scares.

One person impressed by the team and their incredible coach, Monica Aldama, happens to be one of the best athletes in the NFL, J.J. Watt. The defensive end surprised some of his favorite cheer team on live television shortly after the series' quick success, only to leave jaws on the floor. Cheer star and fan-favorite Jerry Harris spoke exclusively with for our series, PopCulture @ Home, recalling the time he met Watt. Stating how it was "absolutely amazing," his said his cheer coach was "the most excited" since Aldama is one of the biggest sports fans.

"Oh my gosh! It was absolutely amazing because we weren't expecting it, he just popped up and we just all got up and started screaming!," Harris told "I think Monica was the most excited because she's really big into football, she loves football everything, she loves sports. It was just amazing to see her reaction and then I'm over here screaming like crazy because I'm over here talking to a professional football player, I'm like, 'Ah! Yes!'"

JJ and cheer
(Photo: Nathan Congleton, Getty)

Harris was on Today's Hoda and Jenna along with two other of his closest teammates, Gabi Butler and La'Darius Marshall, accompanied by Aldama when all of a sudden Watt came out of nowhere. All four Cheer cast members had a shocked look on their face before they started screaming in disbelief. "It was so much fun to interact with him and talk to him for that bit of time," Harris gushed before adding that their friendship didn't stop there.

In fact, Watt still supports him on social media, leaving comments here and there on some of Harris' pictures, to which he beams, "it's good the relationship is still there." Harris recalls the time he "did a little Cameo" for Watt's wife Kealia Watt, who is an American soccer player, saying the footballer "fell in love with it."

"I did a little Cameo for his wife and he loved it, he fell in love with it, he even commented on my muscles in the video — 'cause I think I had a tank top on, so you could see my shoulders — he was like, 'Look at those muscles!' [and] I was like, 'Ah! That's J.J. Watt!'"

While Harris and his teammates may geek out over meeting someone like Watt, they too have millions of fans of their own who would gush just as hard if they met someone like Harris. Because of this, Harris is using his platform to not only spread positivity but help bring awareness to ending childhood hunger by partnering with Cheerios who recently donated $1.3 million to No Kid Hungry. "Food insecurity is something that I've experienced a lot through my childhood years [...] I would have days where I wouldn't even know what I would eat, you know, if we would have money to go get dinner [...] I really would depend on my school, my school breakfast, my school lunches to really feed me."


As a result of the pandemic, one in four kids in the United States could face hunger this year because of COVID-19 and Harris said "it's really sad to see" those numbers and facing that reality because he's someone who has struggled with that before. Harris will also be launching his own Mat Talk Series via Instagram starting Aug. 11 through Sept. 1 and is hoping to encourage his fans to start their day with a positive attitude and encourage them to join in on the No Kid Hungry initiative as well.

Although he wasn't able to release any upcoming projects, he did confirm he has something exciting in-store and can't wait to share with his followers. For more on your favorite athletes and celebrities, keep it right here at