Coming out of California's Simi Valley High School, Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce CC) was a 6-foot-4, 215-pound non-qualifier with no offers, so the tight end enrolled at Pierce Community College. The school has a reputation for getting guys to the next level.
Obviously the hard work has paid off.
After making 20 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns, Sandland, having grown to almost 6-6 and 250 pounds, received his first offer from Utah on Feb. 22. Two months later, offer No. 10 arrived from Georgia.
“It has been crazy, it has been exciting, and it has been humbling,” Sandland said. “In terms of proving myself, I never had any doubts in my ability. I just needed to get some exposure so college coaches could see what I had to offer. Our record (3-7) and my stats were not what we wanted, but I am looking forward to having a much better year this year statistically and record wise.”
On Tuesday morning, the Bulldogs’ tight ends coach made the call to give Sandland the good news.
“Coach John Lilly messaged me on Facebook two days ago, and I spoke to him for the first time today,” Sandland said. “We spoke for about 30 minutes. He told me about Georgia, being in the SEC, his coaching past, how they use their tight ends and get them to the NFL, and the tight ends on the roster now. Then he let me know I had an offer and that one of the coaches would be out in the next few weeks.”
Sandland says that every time he talks to a college coach or gets a new offer he returns interest in that program. Even with double-digit offers now, his interest in Georgia appears to be genuine.
“I told Coach Lilly I wanted to get out there to Georgia, either on an official or unofficial to check out the school,” Sandland said. “I would love to visit every school, but with only five officials that is not going to be practical. The chances of me visiting Georgia are very high, though. I will narrow it down to five and I could definitely see Georgia being in that final five, too.”
One thing in Georgia’s favor is that Sandland does not have any ties to schools, or preexisting college favorites. In fact, he has only started looking into specific programs because of his newfound recruiting options. That being said, he does know a few things about UGA.
“Growing up I was always an NFL guy, so I am just now learning about college tradition at my position,” Sandland said. “I know a little about the Bulldogs. I know about the tradition that they have, I catch one or two of their big games every year, they are in the SEC, they put guys like Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and A.J. Green in the league, and they have put quite a few tight ends in the NFL over the last few years. That sums up what I know about Georgia, but that is why I want to get to know them better.”
Sandland says his strengths as a tight end right now are his pass-catching abilities in the open field. At 6-5, he is too big for defensive backs and too fast for linebackers, thus creating a mismatch. He expressed the desire to work on his in-line blocking, admitting at the moment he is more of a receiving tight end. His is not in the biggest rush to make a habit of blocking every down at his next stop, though.
“At Pierce they utilize me in a lot of formations, but if you talk to any tight end I think they would say their ideal offense is the spread so they can catch a lot of balls and score touchdowns,” Sandland said. “But every school runs the ball, so there needs to be a blocking aspect, too.”
Georgia, which runs a pro-style offense, will always have a need for a tight end who can stretch the field down the middle, so getting Sandland to move across the country might not be as farfetched as it seems.
“I do not care where the college is on the map,” Sandland said. “Wherever I find the best fit and where I am the most comfortable, that is where I will sign, whether it is right down the street or across the country.”