With TEs being the focus of our recruiting news over the last few weeks, I’ll be taking a look this at who might be on the horizon for us next year in the talented 2022 WA TE class.
Ryan Otton (TE, 6’6” 225, Tumwater HS, WA)
Hopefully the next Otton to suit up for the Huskies, Ryan certainly has football bloodlines. Similar to his older brother Cade, Ryan Otton is a two-way player for Tumwater HS, where his grandfather built one of the most successful programs in state history. Like his brother, Ryan projects best as a TE at the next level. While he was only a sophomore this past year, Otton already has the frame and athleticism to grow into a solid, all-around type of TE that we’ve become known for developing. Guys like Cade Otton, Dissly, and Sample are valuable for their ability to be ironman athletes who were versatile enough to stick on the field in all situations, and like them, Ryan can be an efficient chain mover, edge sealer, and people mover that keeps the offense on track.
Looking at his film, I get the same feeling that I got watching Racanelli’s film and just knowing that they’ll be good in whatever position we put them in. I’m having to do a lot of extrapolation, but a guy that can credibly play WR/TE, LB and DE for a strong HS team is a football player plain and simple, and we want those guys on our team. I couldn’t find sophomore film of Cade Otton for a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but 2020 TE Mark Redman was at a very similar spot in his development when he was a sophomore. Although Redman’s HS team passed a lot more than Tumwater, aiding his development as a receiver, I’m confident in Otton’s overall development trajectory.
Otton’s already spent time aligned as a Y-TE and flexed out as a WR, which helps with his college projection. His solid hands in contested situations and a big catch radius should translate well to being the type of security blanket TE target that QBs can lean on. They are also important traits to have when leveraging the type of size advantage that Otton has. Right now, he’s more of a strider when running routes, so he’ll need to tighten up his footwork, add to his route running, and continue to build his explosiveness if he wants to get consistent separation and become a featured target in college. I say that because progress in those areas could improve his projection from being a reliable target to being a a dynamic receiving threat (for comparison, Bryant was a great receiving TE with good measurables but was excellent in a few of those areas). Plus, Ryan as a sophomore was close enough of an athlete to Cade when he was a senior that could have a higher ceiling in college.
Otton’s blocking is solid for a sophomore, even though he’s mostly drawn LB blocking assignments from what I could find. The physicality is there, and he’s quick enough where at worse he’ll be a “positional” blocker (blocking by getting in the way rather than driving defenders off the ball). Adding some muscle should help a lot in his blocking, and 20 lbs in the two years before college should also be very manageable, so there’s real for him to be an impact true freshman.
The 2020-2022 run of TE classes could be historically talented for UW, and Otton could be a big reason why.