With a returning starting quarterback ahead of him on the depth chart at the beginning of the 2016 season, Champlin Park's Bennett Otto might not have expected to be getting much time his sophomore season. The Rebels' coaching staff had…
With a returning starting quarterback ahead of him on the depth chart at the beginning of the 2016 season, Champlin Park's Bennett Otto might not have expected to be getting much time his sophomore season. The Rebels' coaching staff had an open competition for the starting spot, and Otto took advantage of the opportunity and grabbed it. He helped lead his team to a 5-3 regular season record. Although an injury early in the playoffs would end his season prematurely, Otto proved to the coaching staff he is someone they could count on and should be able to count on the next two seasons.
“The coaches believed in me as a freshman, so they pulled me up, and I got a few drives each game as a freshman,” Otto said. “Eighth-grade football to varsity football was the biggest jump I have ever had in sports. Taking a back seat my freshman year was fine with me. I wasn't ready for varsity football at that age. JV football helped and watching (quarterback) Chad (Costello) play helped.”
Unseating an established starter like Costello could have led to an awkward situation, but both quarterbacks handled it well.
“Chad and I have been good friends all through high school even though he is two years older than me. We had a friendly competition all summer,” Otto told NFN. “When it came to August camp Coach announced the starter and it was me. I was surprised and excited at the same time. As the season went along it got easier; I started to see things I wouldn't see at the start of the season. Then as I was getting into a groove, I got injured.”
Luckily for the Rebels, there were no hard feelings between the two quarterbacks. In the first quarter of the first playoff game, Otto broke his collar bone. It would keep him out for the rest of the football season and the beginning of the basketball season. Behind their former starting quarterback, the Rebels worked their way into the state semifinals before falling to Eden Prairie.
“We moved the ball well. Defenses had to respect the run with Ernest Worljoh, and when they tried to stop the run we would come up and throw it,” Otto said. “That was our game – running the ball and quick passes.”
Not surprising, where Otto feels he is best fit right in with what the offense did well.
“My strengths are accuracy – I don't have the strongest arm – and reading the defense,” the 175 pound Otto said.
This winter Otto – who also is the team's punter – was a member of the state champion Rebels' basketball team. With his injury (Otto had surgery to repair his collar bone) and the strength of the team last year, Otto's role was limited.
“I had to lower my minutes last year – that was something I wasn't used to,” Otto admitted. “I had to still be a good teammate and support them.”
Otto played some point but mainly shooting guard. Although he feels he has a good shot, Otto feels – especially with the talent around him last year – he looks to pass before looking for his shot. In the spring and summer, he played for Howard Pulley's U16 team.
Off the field and court, Otto has focused on improving his footwork and agility focusing on becoming a better all-around athlete.
Otto was invited to a number of football camps this summer, but his AAU basketball commitments severely limited the time he could devote to football camps. He was able to attend a Minnesota junior day, but even that had to be cut short because he sort of had a big game to get to that night – the state championship basketball game.
“North Dakota State wanted me to come to a one-day camp,” said Otto – NFN's 7th ranked prospect from the Class of 2019. “Wyoming invited me to a camp and Dartmouth sent camp information too.”
Iowa, North Dakota, Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois and South Dakota State have also talked to Otto's coaches about him.
If Otto remains someone his high school coaches can continue to count on, in a few years college coaches are sure to feel the same way too.