TOPEKA (KSNT)- K-State and KU are two of many power five schools interested in Hayden High School lineman Joe Otting.
Otting has offers to play offensive line at Kansas, Kansas State, New Mexico, Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Baylor, Minnesota and Notre Dame.
“It’s exciting just to know that I can be a part of someone’s program and they want me,” Otting, a junior, said. “I always dreamed of playing DI. That’s always been the goal.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Otting is bigger than your average human.
“Joe was usually one of the youngest kids on his teams but he was always the biggest,” Joe’s mom, Debbie Otting, said. “He kind of always had that size. I remember in tackle football early on, he had the sticker on his helmet because he was too big to run the football.”
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound three-star recruit plans to commit before his senior football season begins. Otting says when the fall comes, he’ll turn his full focus to helping his team win games.
Growing up, Otting cheered for both KU and K-State at times. His fandom will not affect his college decision, though.
“It doesn’t weigh in,” Otting said.
The most recent offer Otting received is from Notre Dame. Every offer means a lot to Otting, but this one was special.
“It’s a big offer, no doubt,” he said. “Just growing up catholic, my family has always liked Notre Dame. Wearing the blue and gold here at Hayden, it’s just one of those things.”
Choosing a school can be a life-changing decision. The decision may even seem too big for a student-athlete who just turned 17 a few days ago. Joe’s maturity leaves his friends and family confident he’ll make the right call.
“He has always been a mature kid,” Debbie Otting said. “Throughout this recruitment process we’ve really watched him grow even more. [We’re] just proud of him and the way he’s handled everything.”
Hayden head football coach Bill Arnold isn’t the only coach with the privilege of working with Joe Otting. Otting is also a force on the Hayden basketball team, which went to State this season, and in track & field where he throws shotput, javelin and discus.
“He’s probably the most mature athlete we have on our team,” Hayden head track & field coach Dejaun Gardenhire Jr. said. “I can trust him with anything.”
Otting will continue to play all three sports his senior year. Put simply, he loves to compete. All three of his coaches can attest to this.
“First off you’re getting a kid that wants to win,” Hayden head basketball coach Dwayne Paul said.
“One thing I know about Joe is he’s a competitor,” Gardenhire Jr. said. “He hates to lose.”
“He just plays hard and that’s what I like about him,” head football coach Bill Arnold said.
As for what Otting is looking for in a school:
“The culture of the program, the stability of coaches, building relationship with coaches as well,” he said. “[A] winning culture, no doubt. Player development and, then, academics most importantly.”