BOULDER, Colo. -- Quarterback Connor Wood joined Colorado on Tuesday after transferring from Texas.
"It was awesome, you just got to love this mountain air, it's a lot different than Austin," Wood said after his first practice on the scout team.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt freshman can practice with the Buffaloes this fall but must sit out this season. He has three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2012, after starter Tyler Hansen has graduated.
Coach Jon Embree said Wood is a walk-on "and then we'll get him going in the spring with some aid."
"I worked with the scout team today and that was fun, just working against the No. 1s," Wood said. "So, it's good to get that practice and stay sharp. I think that's a big deal instead of standing on the sideline on the offensive side, watching. You're actually in there playing against some good teammates."
"I want to play and what's the best place that could facilitate that? Colorado seemed like the best place," Wood said.
"I knew it was a building program. Coach Embree and (quarterbacks coach Rip) Sheerer and (offensive coordinator Eric) Bieniemy are all ex-NFL coaches and have a lot of experience under their belts," Wood said. "I would just like to be part of a building program here. It was the right fit for me and my family."
Wood's father is from Aspen and growing up in Texas his family often vacationed in Colorado.
Wood said it also helped having Buffaloes wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy in Boulder. Kennedy returned to his home state this spring after spending seven seasons in Austin as the Longhorns' wide receivers coach and assistant recruiting coordinator.
"It's great to see a familiar face and actually one of the trainers was one of the trainers at Texas my first semester," Wood said. "It's good to have those guys here."
Wood was highly recruited out of Second Baptist High School in Houston, where he was a three-time all-state selection and threw for 8,417 yards and 73 touchdowns and ran for 1,482 yards and 37 TDs in four years as a starter.
But Colorado didn't go after him.
"I contacted them knowing Coach Kennedy was here," said Wood, whose original top three choices were Texas, Oklahoma and Stanford.
"When we got his release that he was leaving, he was a guy that I said, `Hey listen, I think this guy would be a good fit here," Kennedy said. "I was impressed with him because I know how serious he takes it and football is really important to him. He's a really smart kid."
Next season, Wood will compete against redshirt freshman Nick Hirschman, freshman John Schrock and junior Brent Burnette, whose recent shoulder injury had left Stevie Joe Dorman as the only scout team QB.
"I think he sees it will be an open competition," Kennedy said. "I think his parents were comfortable with me and ... any time you can send your kid to a place where you know some people, that's a little better."
Wood chose the Buffaloes last week over LSU.
"I just felt at home here. It was a tough decision," Wood said. "I just felt it was a better thing for me to be here."
Although the Buffs won't have him on the field for games until 2012, he's already helping them out.
"Connor obviously gives us another live arm and will help our defense, continue to help our secondary. I think he's a big-armed kid and can do some things," Embree said. "... When your scout team makes it harder than it is in the game, then you've arrived as a program. So, he gives us a step in the right direction toward that."
Wood said learning a different offense every week on the scout team can only help him grow as a quarterback.
"Yes, when you see the plays in front of you on the scout team and you see the plays and the routes, it's similar to what we do. It makes you ad-lib, so it's kind of fun doing that," he said.