Orlando Arnold could have started for any of the schools recruiting him.
The weather in San Diego was hard to beat, and Delaware State wanted him to play two sports.
But what it really came down to for the junior college standout was the way he was welcomed during his visit to Wyoming.
"That's the only university out there, and it seems like people care more," Arnold said of the Cowboy state. "The people are more into it out there and are more excited about football, whereas out here in California it seems like there are universities on every corner. It's like the people out here are not as excited about sports. For them it's just there."
The 6-foot-4, 259-pound tight end from Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif. made an official visit to Laramie earlier this month and came away with a positive impression of UW's football program—and a new appreciation for warm weather.
"It was snowing. It was real cold," he said a few days after giving the Pokes a verbal commitment. "It was really tough, but I think I can get used to it."
Arnold ruled out his offer from Delaware State after deciding he didn't want to play Division I-AA football, but it wasn't until he visited with coaches and began comparing records that it became clear UW was a better fit than SDSU. Meeting one of his future quarterbacks didn't hurt either.
"They've (the Cowboys) been a good program and had a lot of winning seasons the past few years," he said. "I really liked the coaching staff. They're all real cool and genuine and real straight about everything.
"And they have a quarterback coming in from Arizona State (Dax Crum). I met the guy, and he's supposed to be starting. He seemed real cool and like a good quarterback."
Arnold said he isn't positive that Crum will take over for 2007 starter Karsten Sween, but the way coaches acted during his visit gave him the impression that will be the case.
"They were talking about him like the whole weekend," Arnold said. "I met him on the last day of the weekend that I was up there. Everybody was all excited and happy and everything, and it just seemed like he will be the guy."
Either way, neither of Wyoming's gunslingers will get a chance to throw the ball to Arnold this spring. The sophomore needs 15 more academic units before he can transfer. In the meantime, he'll finish the season out with CCC's basketball team and then try to hit the weight room before moving to Laramie in May.
"I met with Coach (Bob) Cole (offensive coordinator) today," he said. "He told me that he's going to send me a playbook, and then I'll study the playbook while I'm out here. He told me we can call back and forth if I have questions about the playbook."
It's not the ideal way to learn the Pokes' system, but if he can make progress with the new offense before moving to Laramie, Arnold said that he will likely start at tight end next season. He had 44 catches for 550 yards and 10 touchdowns for CCC in 2007.
"That's the plan, to try to get me to learn most of the playbook before I get out there," he said, "and then I can start running the offense."
The semester-long delay before transferring does come with a silver lining: Arnold won't have to brave the Wyoming winter until next year.
"It's going to be tough," he said. "I've never been through stuff like that.
"But Wyoming is a better program, so the cold is nothing compared to the opportunities."
Arnold Picks Pokes, Will Brave the Weather
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