Tuesday, March 15, 2022
By Gary R. Rasberry
Peyton Otte is heading south and hoping to make an impact on a program that is moving forward.
Football star Marion Local will attend Jacksonville State University in Florida as a privileged person with the possibility of winning a scholarship.
The Gamecocks entered Otte’s vision through Dusty Rutledge, the former Parkway player and former head coach who is new coach Rich Rodriguez’s head of football state.
“(Rutledge) reached out to coach (Tim) Goodwin because they’ve been friends for a while,” said Otte, who will be a pre-med major. “Coach Goodwin gave me his contact details. We had a chat and they said they wanted me on the team. I went to visit, saw and loved it there- down. I made my decision right after that.”
Jacksonville State has been a contender in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision since 1995, finishing second nationally in 2015. In 2023, the Gamecocks will move to the Football Bowl Subdivision and join Conference-USA.
Last season under former coach John Grass, JSU went 5-6, 3-3 in the combined Atlantic Sun/Western Athletic Conference AQ7 partnership. The Gamecocks’ biggest win came early last season when they beat Florida State in Tallahassee.
Now Rodriguez, who has coached in West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona, is preparing the team for the leap to the next level.
“He’s steering the program in the right direction. There’s a lot of buzz on campus,” Otte said. “It’s an exciting time to be part of the team.”
Otte brings a lot of options to Jacksonville State in terms of where to play. Otte was an all-Ohio wide receiver as a sophomore before moving into quarterback for his senior season. At quarterback, Otte rushed for 1,445 yards and 22 touchdowns and had 1,482 and 12 scores as the Flyers went 16-0 and won the program’s 12th state title since 2000.
Defensively, Otte also excelled at cornerback, earning All-Ohio First Team honors last season at defensive back with 34 tackles and two interceptions.
“You have to earn everything you do,” Otte said. “You do it through hard work, that’s how our community is. I’m going to take that with me, along with everything I’ve learned from the great coaching staff we have at Marion.”