The Texas Longhorns, under co-offensive coordinators Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite, would like to put a heavy emphasis on the tight end position. The Longhorn staff went out this year and secured a commitment from top prep tight end prospect Durham Smythe and this week, the UT coaches made a trip to the West Coast to check out one of the nation's top junior college prospects.
Pierce Community College (Woodland Hills, CA.) tight end Beau Sandland was paid a visit by Texas tight ends coach Bruce Chambers on Monday, a move that caught Sandland by a bit of surprise.
"It was kind of just out of the blue. I hadn't really heard from Texas, or thought Texas was interested in recruiting me," Sandland said. "Texas mostly takes all Texas guys, and they don't take many Juco guys so it was kind of a double whammy against me.
"Yesterday was the first contact I had from Texas. Coach Chambers was here and got to watch me lift and do some conditioning. We don't practice on Monday. I wish we would have to give him a better show, but he checked everything out. Things are still in the really, really early stages."
The contact from Texas comes with a bit of an ironic twist. A couple months ago, Sandland mentioned to one of his coaches if he had any contacts at UT, only to be told that his coach did not and Sandland shouldn't be too optimistic since Texas doesn't often recruit outside of the Lone Star State and rarely recruits junior college players. Then on Sunday, somewhat out of the blue, Sandland received a text from his head coach at Pierce informing him that Chambers would be on campus on Monday.
"Texas is a school that I'd be really interested in. Who wouldn't be with a school like Texas being in Big 12 and the kind of offense that they run? So I was pleasantly surprised," Sandland said.
The 6-6, 250-pound Sandland sports an impressive offer list, with scholarships coming in from the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Purdue, Texas Tech and Utah, among others. The interest from Texas, Sandland believes, comes from UT's need for experienced talent at the tight end position.
"I think first and foremost, they reached out because of their immediate need at tight end from talking a little bit to coach Chambers. He made it clear that was a position they needed help in," Sandland said. "After this season, they're graduating two tight ends and they have two others who are converted defensive ends that haven't even played tight end. I think the fact that they have a need at tight end led them to look at junior college tight ends. Then they came across my film and liked it enough to send coach Chambers to come see me face to face."
Sandland is keeping all options open at this stage of the recruiting process. He may look at narrowing his focus over the summer, but he's intent on doing his homework before eliminating any programs.
"Right now, it's too early. I don't have a top list of favorites or anything like that," Sandland said. "I'll probably start to narrow things down in a couple months. I don't really want to rush into anything. By time the season starts, I'll probably have a top five but I don't want to rush. I'd like to keep my options open
"I plan on taking all five officials and I'll take a couple unofficial visits probably coming up in June. I don't have anything set in stone, but probably I'll probably head up to Cal, probably go down to Tempe to check out Arizona State and then possibly Texas Tech and Nebraska."
Sandland said a visit to Texas at some point is a possibility, but he'd prefer to take his visits to places that have extended scholarships. If the Longhorn coaches do offer a choose to extend an offer, or at least give an indication that one would be presented on a visit, Sandland said he'd give strong consideration to visiting Austin.
"When I was growing up, I was always a professional football fan. I didn't follow college too much until the last couple years when it looked like I would have a chance to be playing college ball. When you ask anybody, ask a random person on the street who is in the upper echelon, the big time college programs, Notre Dame, USC, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida - schools like that always come up," Sandland said. "So Texas is obviously a team I'm interested in, for a lot of reasons. Mack Brown, his players love playing for him and would run through a brick wall for him. His tenure there, how long he's been there. Also, being in big 12, I consider that the best offensive conference in college football.
"Being a school like Texas that runs that kind of offense, it's pretty exciting for any position, especially wide receivers and tight ends. There are only a handful of schools that utilize the tight end to its full potential, and Texas is definitely one of those schools. If you're a high school or college tight end, you'd be dumb not to consider Texas."
In 2011 for Pierce, Sandland hauled in 20 receptions for 265 yards and 2 TDs, including a long reception of 46 yards.