In the summer, junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) made it pretty clear. His decision wasn’t going to happen overnight.
It wasn’t going to happen in the summer nor during the football season. He was going to make all of his visits, and he would be ready by the December signing period.
He admits it hasn’t been easy, but Sandland has been a man of his word. Because Pierce College played all of its games on Saturdays, Sandland has rarely been able to experience a game-day atmosphere on an official visit.
“It was kind of rough. You hear about all these great atmospheres and games, and I never got to see any of that,” Sandland said. “I knew that coming into the season so it wasn’t a big shock or anything, but I do wish I could have experienced a game at all of my visits.”
It only happened once when he visited Ole Miss in September. The Rebels were one of several SEC schools who had offered Sandland.
He was considering official visits to Florida, Georgia, Tennessee or Texas A&M when he learned last month his online math credit at Pierce College won’t transfer to SEC schools. Just like that, all of those schools were eliminated.
“That was tough, but there was nothing I could do about it,” Sandland said. “I have a lot of great offers and a lot of great schools are still out there.”
Sandland, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, released his top five on Nov. 1 consisting of Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona State, Texas Tech and Miami (Fla.).
He has seen the campuses of OU, ASU and Nebraska and is set to see Miami this weekend and Texas Tech the following weekend. His hope is to narrow it down to three schools after the Tech visit and then sign Dec. 19., the first day of the juco signing period that goes until Jan. 15.
“I know it hasn’t been easy for the schools. All of them would love for me to have committed yesterday,” Sandland said. “But none of them have pressured me or anything like that. They knew what my plan was.”
Sandland is listening to what the coaches have to say and definitely is looking to go somewhere where he is going to make an immediate impact.
In the end, though, there is only one person whose opinion besides his own will account into his decision.
“After that Tech visit, I’m going to talk to my mom and sleep on it,” Sandland said. “I would love to take my mom to my top three schools and get her opinion because her opinion is the only one that’s valid. She has been there through everything.”
Sandland knows this next month will be chaotic. Coaches from all five programs are certainly going to visit him and call him as much as is allowed.
He has no problems with that, though. He is enjoying the process. It’s a process he never got to experience as a high school player. He knew going into his high school senior season that he had to go the juco route. And his school, he said, cared more about baseball and basketball than it did about football.
So even though it might be a cliché at this point, Sandland is looking forward to his ceremony and having the three hats on a table before making a decision.
“I feel like I’ll be ready to do it in December,” Sandland said. “I’ll have the hats out and make my choice. This process hasn’t been stressful because I’m more thankful than anything else.
“You don’t often get a second chance like I’ve been given. I’m going to make the most out of it.”