Ready to redshirt

Stetson Otero is aware that first year at Mesa State will be tough

David Pressgrove

Every time Stetson Otero has jumped to the next level in football, he has expected to take his bruises. Going into his freshman year at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, he’s prepared for a full-body bruise.

“Oh man, I’m going to take a beating,” he said. “Those guys are so much bigger than me.”

Otero chose to walk on to the Mesa State football team after his all-state senior season for the Moffat County Bulldogs.

He plans to redshirt his freshman year, but that won’t stop him from practicing with 22-year-old linemen.

“I’m nowhere near their size,” he said. “It will be like my freshman year in high school all over again.”

Otero is the first of his family to attend college since his grandmother. Coach Joe Ramunno will be one of the first Mesa State faculty members Otero will meet.

Ramunno said it is rare for a freshman to earn playing time for his team.

“We have 25 guys coming in to compete for spots and the best 11, no matter the year, will play,” he said. “It’s not common for a freshman just to jump in, and we will probably redshirt a lot of the guys.”

Redshirt or not, Otero will be in practice. To prepare for practice, he has been working on a ranch in Lay.

“I’ve lifted so many hay bales this summer I don’t even want to count,” he said. “I come home exhausted every day.”

The Maverick-to-be also has been running when on camping trips with his friends.

“I probably ran 13 miles in two days the other weekend,” he said. “I have to be prepared because it’s going to be hot.”

The temperatures in Grand Junction have been in the 100s for most of July. Ramunno said that is one factor for all of his players.

“Those first couple of weeks are difficult for everybody,” he said. “They learn quickly if they did enough work to prepare.”

Otero said that during the summer he wasn’t in contact with the Mesa State staff. Ramunno said that is typical.

“They’ll have enough of us the first month,” he said. “We have guys in charge of contacting our incoming players, but it’s not like a father’s keeper.”

Otero will be rooming with fellow Moffat County graduate Scott Garoutte at Mesa State. Both all-state honorees plan to play football.

“We decided we wanted to room together earlier this year,” Otero said. “I’m looking forward to having someone I know right away.”

Because he’s not as tall as a typical college lineman, Otero said he’s willing to be flexible about where he’ll play.

“I told myself I’d never play offense again during high school, but then last year I played when they needed me,” he said. “Now I’m saying that I’ll never play defense again, but that’s where the coaches are looking at me, so I’ll do what they need.”

Training camp starts Wed-nesday for the Mavericks team.

“I know I’m going to have two-a-days for a month,” Otero said. “That’s not something I’m used to. Two-a-days for a week was enough in high school.”

Sounds tough.

“It’s a monumental challenge,” he said. “If I work hard, they said I would help the team. That’s my goal.”

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