- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce) is one of the most highly-recruited players at his position in the nation, but the 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete said Monday that he had to eliminate an entire conference from his possible destinations. Sandland earned offers from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas A&M out of the SEC, but he won't be at any of those schools in January.
Sandland said that in order to graduate in December and enroll early at his school of choice, he will need to take an online math class through a school other than Woodland Hills Pierce. He added that while the SEC made a recent change to allow student-athletes who have completed online math and English courses, they must be taken through the school the student attends, which is not possible for Sandland.
"I've been talking to the coaches and obviously they are disappointed," Sandland said of the SEC coaches. "They said it's a big problem for them and they've lost recruits to this."
Sandland said that while he could remain at Pierce an extra semester and keep the SEC schools in play, that won't be an option for him.
"There's no way I'm not leaving in December," he said. "I feel that it's really crucial to enroll early and go through spring ball. That's been my plan since day one, since I was still in high school talking to the Pierce coaches."
Sandland said he viewed a few of his SEC offers as potential destinations and had even scheduled an official visit to Florida. But he said it isn't exactly back to the drawing board with his recruitment, as he has offers from schools in every major conference.
"It takes those seven and eliminates them and it makes the decision-making process a little easier," Sandland said. "Eliminating all those schools and such a great conference -- that was a huge pull for them, just the opportunity to play in that conference."
Sandland said this news means that other programs will rise up his list. He has taken official visits to Nebraska and Oklahoma, and will set his final two visits for after the season. Pac-12 programs Arizona, Arizona State, California and Utah have extended offers and it wouldn't be surprising to see several more programs step forward.
Pierce College is off to a 3-1 start this season, but Sandland has played in only two games. He missed one because of health reasons and another to serve as the best man in his brother's wedding.
8dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough