Nobody was expecting an verbal commitment from junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce CC) on his official visit to Oklahoma, but the Sooners have made sure they will stay in the conversation.
Sandland has thought hard about the recruiting process and will not make a commitment until he takes all five of his official visits.
His second official visit was to Norman, Okla., over the weekend. Sandland has developed a solid relationship with OU tight ends coach Bruce Kittle. But the weekend gave him an opportunity to interact with the entire OU offensive staff.
“It was good to meet all the coaches and get a feel of their coaching style and how they interact with their players,” Sandland said. “Nothing really shocked me. You expect a staff at a place like OU to be great and they were.”
Sandland, however, didn’t expect to like the OU campus as much as he did. He said it was one of the most beautiful campuses he has ever seen. But it’s not campus life that would potentially bring the 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect to the Sooners.
For Sandland, it’s all about the depth chart and playing time. Although OU has four tight ends on its 2012 roster, none of the four have caught a pass in a Division I football game.
“It was alarming, at first, looking at their signing class,” Sandland said. “The more guys they sign, the more competition there is. But they have a couple of high school kids who are really young and inexperienced.
“I spent a lot of time talking to the kid from the San Diego area [Taylor McNamara]. He seems like a real good kid."
Sandland was co-hosted by backup quarterback Blake Bell and offensive tackle Lane Johnson, but he said he also spent a lot of time with McNamara, fullback Trey Millard and receiver Kenny Stills.
And on Saturday, he was able to spend the majority of the day with head coach Bob Stoops. Sandland said he had talked to Stoops on the phone three or four times prior to his trip, but it was important to see him in person.
“I was able to spend a lot of time with Coach Stoops and get to know him,” Sandland said. “We went out to lunch, and I got to see what a big family man he is. That’s really important to me. I got to see his house. Wow, that was something. That’s like a castle right there.”
But the coach Sandland has built the best relationship is Kittle. And after spending a weekend with OU's second-year assistant, Sandland knows he would fit in well with the Sooners.
Sandland said what he liked the most about Kittle was his calm demeanor.
“Everybody coaches a little differently,” Sandland said. “Coach Kittle doesn’t scream a lot, and I like that. I know some coaches like to yell and some guys react well to that. That’s not me, but I felt fine after watching Coach Kittle talk to his players at Friday’s practice.”
Up next on Sandland’s agenda is an official visit to Ole Miss on Sept. 15, the weekend his Pierce squad has a bye week. Sandland said he still plans to take an official to Florida, but he believes it will be after the season.
Though Sandland enjoyed his OU visit, he didn’t say it was any better than the one he had at Nebraska.
“It’s not like either one blew the other one out of the water,” Sandland said. “I want to go someplace where I’m going to feel comfortable. There is still time, and I’m in no rush.”