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HOUSTON - When Houston Second Baptist quarterback Connor Wood was a freshman, he had a dream and set goals for himself in order to achieve that dream.
Seeing the likes of Vince Young, Adrian Peterson and Reggie Bush put their talents on display at the Alamodome in San Antonio gave Wood a desire, a desire to one day be in their company.
"It's been a goal of mine since the beginning of high school," Wood said. "Ever since I started playing quarterback I wanted to play in that bowl and be on national TV and just play with the great players from across the country."
Thursday morning in Gym C on the Second Baptist campus in front of his family, coaches and classmates, Wood achieved that goal as he was presented as a member of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl's West squad.
"I'm very honored to be one of the 90 players in the country to be playing in this bowl," Wood said as he stood at the podium with his jersey on. "First of all, I'd like to thank my family, they're all here today. Thank you for being such a supporting cast for me every day. Secondly, I'd like to thank all of the faculty and the student body for supporting me through these four years of playing. And most of all my team - my offensive line, receivers and running backs…coaches, coach Blackmon and coach Sneed, thank you very much for supporting me these four years. Thank you again."
When coach Michael Sneed took the job at Second Baptist he heard he was inheriting a pretty good quarterback, and Wood has more than lived up to his billing on the field and off.
"When I first came to Second Baptist a few years ago I was told 'There's a pretty good kid that's quarterback there at Second Baptist' and that's all I was told," Sneed said. "Me being where I've seen good quarterbacks in the past I thought well I'll see and he is as good or better than any player I've ever coached and Connor you're not only a great athlete but you're a great Christian young man. We're fortunate to have you on our team the last three years and to see you move on to the next level is a tremendous thing. Being selected as a U.S. All-American is a tremendous thing."
Wood joins quarterbacks Jake Heaps (Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline/BYU) and Austin Hinder (Steamboat Springs, Colo./Cal) as quarterbacks on the West squad roster, and is most looking forward to being around the best the country has to offer.
"I'm just looking forward to spending the whole week with the best players in the country, and having a roommate and being with players who are going to be future college and NFL stars," Wood said. "So just being with so much talent and being with them every day of that week and then playing in the bowl, it's cool to play with the best of the best. "
Among those talents who will be joining him is his possible future center in Texas commit and Cedar Park, Texas offensive lineman Dominic Espinosa.
"The center/quarterback relationship is critical, and having him be that good to be an All-American is going to be huge for us at Texas and I'm looking forward to getting to know him," Wood said.
He is also looking forward to joining a few more of his future teammates on the West Squad.
"There's five guys including myself that are committed to Texas, and I want to get to know those guys because I'll be playing with them on the West team and to get a good relationship with those guys before we head out to Austin," he said. "And not only that, but to meet and develop relationships with guys that are going to different places and seeing my competition later on at different schools."
Wood and his West squad teammates will square off against the East squad Saturday, January 9, 2010 in the Alamodome in San Antonio in the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The game will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.