Ryan Otton, a targeted Washington Huskies tight-end recruit for 2022, doesn’t feel the weight of his last name. He embraces it.
The Otton family legacy spans generations. A statue of Sid Otton, the winningest high-school football coach in Washington state history, sits just outside of Tumwater High School stadium.
“There are two pains in life," said Ryan Otton, who learned this from his grandfather. "There’s the pain of regret and hard work.”
Sid Otton has the Tumwater field named after him, a tribute to his 43 seasons as the Thunderbirds coach.
His grandson Ryan, a sophomore and budding prospect, is another product of the Tumwater program that's been so successful for so long.
The highly sought-after national recruit recently secured a scholarship offer from Washington. Early in the process, as the 10th-ranked player in the state, he continues to keep his options open.
Ryan Otton is the youngest of three siblings and has a role model in his older brother, Cade Otton.
“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to be like him,” this Otton said of Cade, who has enjoyed great success the past three seasons while playing tight end for the Huskies.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the two brothers work out together at home. Ryan follows Cade’s routine that takes shape in the garage for the time being.
Motivated to improve his game, the youngest Otton looks to put on more muscle and improve his technique.
They follow the creed "NGUNNGU," which is a mantra for the Tumwater Thunderbirds -- Never give up, never never give up.
“Players have bought into this mindset the last couple years,” Ryan Otton said.
Tumwater coach Bill Beattie has had a large hand in passing along that message to his team. Beattie received a high-school coach of the year honor supplied by the Seattle Seahawks, which brought $12,000 in grants to put into the Thunderbirds program.
“The program is all about shaping who you are as a person and how you grow into a man later in life,” said the younger Otton, who also is the 21st-ranked tight end in the nation.
The Thunderbirds went undefeated this past season, capping it off by beating Steilacoom in the 2A state championship game. Tumwater, which has captured six state titles, previously won one in 2010 and fell just short in the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to play beyond high school," Ryan Otton said.
His work ethic reflects the dream that soon will become reality. His daily routine highlights the rigor to which he applies to his game. School, practice, homework, dinner and repeat it.
The offseason is partially occupied with basketball, followed by training to gear up for the next football season. Ryan recognizes he has a lot of options.
“Every college program is special in its own right,” Otton said of his choices.
The opportunity to carry on the Otton legacy to the next level means everything to Ryan. It pushes him.
“Knowing that offers are coming in this early, is a dream come true for me,” he said.