As is the case with most tight ends in this UW offense, Otton’s value goes beyond his numbers in the passing game.
As much as any other position, the Huskies have a strong legacy of producing NFL tight ends, and Cade Otton has leaned on Washington’s most recent pro tight end — the Seahawks’ Will Dissly — to help accelerate the learning curve early in his college career.
Dissly and Drew Sample both took on a mentorship role with Otton over the past year, and their guidance is already paying off in Otton’s first month in a Husky uniform.
“Great mentors,” said Otton, a redshirt freshman from Tumwater High. “They’re always willing to make time for me when I had questions. Obviously it’s a lot we have to do at the tight-end position here, and they were willing to teach me the nuances and all the stuff that goes along with being a tight end here. I’m starting to pick up on that stuff and there’s still a lot to learn, and those are great guys to learn from.”
With Sample, the senior veteran, as the established No. 1 tight end, Otton continues to see more and more time as the Huskies’ No. 2 tight end. He has filled in capably after Dissly’s graduation, and after sophomore standout Hunter Bryant was lost this summer to a knee injury.
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Otton, 6 feet 5 and 249 pounds, had a career-high three catches for 40 yards — including a touchdown pass from Jake Browning in the back corner of the end zone — in Saturday’s home victory over Arizona State. As is the case with most tight ends in this UW offense, Otton’s value goes beyond his numbers in the passing game.
“Cade has done a great job for being a freshman and playing a real difficult position for us,” UW coach Chris Petersen said. “You guys are mentioning his name because he’s catching a few passes, and that’s fine, whatever. That’s not why I’m real excited about him. I think that’s icing on the cake.
“I’m excited because of all the dirty work he does as a tight end on the line of scrimmage, and he’s doing a nice job there as well.”
Otton’s family — including his grandfather, Sid — was in attendance at Husky Stadium on Sept. 8 when he caught his first career pass for the Huskies, which happened to be a 1-yard touchdown reception from Browning.
Otton played for his grandfather at Tumwater High, and Sid Otton retired after Cade’s senior season as the winningest prep coach in state history.
“I just always wanted to be around the football field when I was growing up. He was a big part of that, obviously, being the coach at the high school,” Cade Otton said. “Just having the football in my hands or running around playing, that really developed my love of the game. It was crucial in me playing here right now.”
He said he’s “super appreciative” for the opportunity to play for UW, to have his family and friends at every game.
And he’s just getting started.
“I have a lot of fun playing football, and getting to contribute to this team — it’s pretty surreal,” he said. “I grew up around here and I know what it’s like when the Huskies are rolling and how this town can be a Husky town, so to contribute to that is really cool.”