UW Roster Review, No. 0-99: Otton Has It All Except Ultimate Attention

The Husky tight end has elite blocking and receiving skills, but not the notoriety that should come with it.
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Cade Otton is the University of Washington's All-American boy — exceedingly talented, humble, modest, married. 

While some of his Husky teammates might share in the first three traits, Otton is the only one on the roster who's entered wedlock.

What this 6-foot-5, 250-pound family man from Tumwater, Washington, doesn't have is consensus All-America recognition across the college football landscape, and maybe he should. 

Yet that might require him to be somebody he isn't. An attention-seeker, a showboat, someone willing to celebrate his good fortune.

Otton could do more things to put a spotlight on himself, yet outside of blocking defenders, catching passes and scoring touchdowns, that's not his nature.

"Cade Otton, I say, is one of the best in the country because I know what the NFL is looking for," Husky coach Jimmy Lake said.

Listing the expectations, the second-year head coach mentioned different blocking requirements and techniques before he arrived at his receiving exploits. 

Otton has it all.

Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.

Otton wears No. 87, a Husky jersey previously made recognizable by defensive tackle Lee Brock and tight ends John Brady and Larry Michael. Even wide receiver/punt returner Dante Pettis wore 87 as a freshman before finishing as No. 8.

This superb Husky tight end was sensational last fall during the pandemic-shortened season, leading the team in receiving with 16 catches for 212 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

With just 36 seconds left to play, Otton broke free over the middle to snag a 16-yard scoring pass from quarterback Dylan Morris that brought the UW all the way back from a 21-0 halftime deficit to a thrilling 24-21 victory over Utah. He received a game ball for his heroics.

Cade Otton receives the game ball after his game-winning catch in the comeback win over Utah.

Cade Otton received a game ball for his Utah performance. 

While the rest of the college football analysts are just now discovering Otton, The NFL Draft Bible, an affiliate of Sports Illustrated, has caught on to his significant skill level and pro potential.

The NFL Draft Bible assessment of the tight end, a fifth-year junior in eligibility, goes as follows:

Otton aligns as the starting in-line tight end for the Huskies, although he gets some sparse snaps out of the slot. Ideal size for a very versatile skill set in the receiving game — extremely delicate and nuanced route runner who makes plays up the seam and across the middle on drag routes. Soft yet firm hands — rarely see him drop a pass. Nice RAC skills as well — has the elusiveness to catch the ball out of the backfield and evade tacklers. Very sound blocking fundamentals — won’t be a detriment to a professional team whatsoever.

McIllece Sports did its homework and recently named Otton as its preseason first-team All-American, but Iowa State's Charlie Kolar and Texas A&M's Jalen Wydermyer generally garner the top honors at the Husky player's expense. They're all on the Mackey Award watch list to be named the nation's most outstanding tight end.

Those others have attractive size and big receiving numbers, same as Otton, but likely don't block as well as the UW player does. 

Certainly, this humble married man isn't going to advertise it. His coach will. And take advantage of it.

"What you may have not seen is all the excellent things he does in the run game, but if you watch it close, he's phenomenal," Lake said. "There's no question we want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can, too."

Otton's 2021 Outlook: Projected starting tight end

UW Service Time: Played in 31 games, started 27

Stats: 63 receptions, 776 yards, 8 touchdowns; 79 yards rushing on 6 carries; 1 tackle

Individual Honors: First-team All-Pac-12

Pro prospects: 2022 NFL second-round draft pick

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven

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