It wasn’t unanimous, but when RecruitingNation asked prospects at Nike's The Opening last weekend what the worst part of being recruiting was, the consensus answer was being bugged by the media. While recruits might enjoy the initial attention, the daily calls and text messages from media members becomes more of an annoyance than anything else.
And that’s true if you’re a four-star or five-star prospect in high school. But what if you knew going into your senior season in high school you weren’t going to qualify? What if you were at a smaller school that didn’t stress recruiting?
Junior college tight end Beau Sandland might have some problems, but having to answer calls from the media is not one of them.
“Things could be a lot worse than having a lot of coaches wanting to call you and see you in person,” Sandland said. “It’s a good problem to have. At my high school we didn’t have any scouts coming through. We weren’t very good so people didn’t care.”
Now at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., though, it’s a much different story for Sandland, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. And it’s familiar ground for Oklahoma. The Sooners went after a couple of Pierce plsyers in the class of 2012 in cornerback Kass Everett and safety Gerald Bowman. OU was able to land Everett, while Bowman signed with USC.
Heading into the 2012 season, it appears Sandland is the No. 1 target for OU at tight end. Sandland was pretty high on the board anyway, but he has risen the last two weeks after the Sooners missed out on other targets. Tight end offers Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) and Lake Charles (La.) Barbe prospect DeSean Smith both committed to other schools. Mattingly selected Notre Dame, and Smith chose LSU.
“I didn’t even know that, to be honest,” Sandland said. “I’m not really looking at the tight end recruiting being done by other schools, at least the high school guys. I would pay attention if I found out a juco guy like myself was going to a school that has offered me.”
Sandland doesn’t have that problem at OU as he is the lone juco tight end offered. He took a visit to Nebraska last month and said he knows where he wants some of his other official visits to be.
The Sooners, Florida and Ole Miss will likely all receive a visit from Sandland, and he said he is still debating his fifth visit, with schools such as LSU and Miami (Fla.) in the running.
That doesn’t mean Sandland isn’t looking at a chance to stay on the West Coast, but he said he doesn’t want to waste an official visit on a school that he can drive to attend. Next weekend will be an example of that as Sandland said he is going to make an unofficial visit to Arizona State on July 20.
From there, it looks like OU will be next. He said he would like to take his official visit to Norman, Okla., in August.
“I talk to Coach [Bruce] Kittle on the phone frequently, and I’ve even talked with Coach [Bob] Stoops a couple of times," Sandland said. "I’m very comfortable with the OU staff, and I definitely want to see what the school has to offer.”
Sandland won’t be in awe of anything he sees on his visits. There will be no wide-eyed looks here. He knows what to expect from these schools in terms of the fan base, the facilities and things such as TV exposure. That’s not what he is concentrating on.
“What is going to differentiate schools are the people that are there,” Sandland said. “I need to be able to connect on a personal level with the position coach.”
The Nebraska visit was an eye-opener for Sandland because it was his first visit he had ever taken. The Cornhuskers have been recruiting Sandland for a long time, and he said it was a positive experience.
Sandland already had several offers, but when the spring evaluation period rolled around, things almost got out of control.
He said at least a few top college coaches were at every practice from the end of February until the beginning of June.
“It was pretty crazy, but it is actually dying down now. Now I can focus on the game again. I’m putting the work in the weight room with my lower body strength and footwork,” Sandland said. “It’s been a fun ride so far, and I just want to enjoy the process.”