He's made three visits in the last three weeks, and signing date is fast approaching.
But Orlando Arnold isn't rushing his college decision.
"Right now, I'm just soaking it in," he said. "I haven't really put one above the other yet. I got a little bit of time right now to just kind of soak it all up."
The 6-foot-4, 259-pound tight end from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. recently returned from a visit to San Diego State. The week before, he went on an official to Wyoming, and that was only one week removed from a cross-country trip to Delaware State.
"Those are the only three (schools) to offer me full-ride scholarships," Arnold said. "And right now, the situation is like, I could stay out here another semester, or I could go to spring ball depending on the school. If I decide to go this summer, I might just wait around and see what other schools are interested."
In the meantime, he'll be mulling over the offer the Cowboys extended to him during his visit last week. Wyoming has a glaring hole to fill offensively with the graduation of two-time second-team all-conference selection Wade Betschart, and coaches were willing to lay it all on the table to get a verbal from Arnold.
"They just said, ‘With your two years of eligibility, we'll pay for your summer school and housing while you're out here in the summer,'" Arnold said. "And then they said, ‘If you don't have your degree in two years, we'll pay for another year of school after your eligibility for football is over.'
"That's a pretty good deal right there."
But it's also one he'll have to weigh against another enticing offer from Division I-AA Delaware State. In addition to being a star on CCC's football team, Arnold also plays basketball for the Comets, and DSU is recruiting him as a two-sport prospect.
"Well, Delaware State, they (also) told me the same deal as Wyoming with the summers and the third year and everything for school," he said. "So that's the good thing about them."
Arnold finished the 2007 season with 44 catches for more than 550 yards and 10 touchdowns for CCC.
"My YAC (yards after the catch) was like 8.9 yards, so that was really high," he said. "I averaged something like 13 yards a catch and 8.9 YAC, I think."
That was good enough to prompt all three programs to tell Arnold he could play Division I or DI-AA ball right away—something he may have been able to do two years ago had his high school film been a bit clearer.
"I came out of Richmond High (Calf.), and my recruiting was horrible," he said. "My film was horrible. It wasn't good enough quality to give to the schools. They called me back and were like, ‘We can't even tell who you are on this film.'
"You know in football, you have to have film. I was probably a good enough athlete to go Division I, but I went to Contra Costa just to get some film and get it sent out."
Not that he regrets going the JUCO route, Arnold added.
"I learned a lot," he said. "I matured a lot more, got a lot bigger, got a lot stronger and all that, so it's been a great experience."
A great experience for him and for the fans and coaches who watched him develop.
"The one thing that jumped out at me when I watched him play is his hands," said Jeff Carillo, the Sports Editor of CCC's student newspaper, The Advocate, in an email this week. "He's got great hands for the tight-end position. He hardly drops a ball, and he's a great target for any quarterback, especially on 3rd downs. He's got great size obviously, so he's pretty hard to tackle on the first hit, and he's a solid blocker as well when he's called upon to do so."
Carrillo said Arnold also has outstanding heart, referencing a game in which CCC "was getting blown out" and the big tight end ran down an opposing player who intercepted a pass "despite being about 10-15 yards behind on the play."
"The sky's the limit for Orlando," said CCC head coach John McDermott in an article written by Carillo last November. "He's going to go as far as he wants. He's a great athlete, he's a great student and he's a remarkable human being.
"He's everything you would want from a student-athlete and I'm going to miss him a lot when he leaves."
Arnold reports a 4.7-second time in the 40-yard dash and a max bench press of 280 pounds.
Arnold Letting Offers Soak in
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