Oklahoma Sooners: Beau Sandland

Position breakdown: Tight end 

February, 18, 2013
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Tight end was the position that wasn’t for the Sooners in 2012.

OU’s first-year tight end triplets did not develop as rapidly as the coaches had hoped. Then Jalen Saunders was cleared, and the Sooners went almost exclusively with four-wide sets without a tight end.

Not only did the Sooners seldom use the tight end position in 2012, they altogether abandoned it. Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel leaned on four-wide sets and lined up fullback Trey Millard at tight end whenever the situation called for it.

[+] EnlargeBrannon Green
Jim Cowsert/US PresswireTight end Brannon Green had three catches for the Sooners in 2012.
The Sooners scoured the recruiting trail for a junior college tight end but struck out with their top two targets, Beau Sandland and Emmanuel Bibbs.

Despite not landing a juco tight end, Bob Stoops said he wants the tight end packages to be a bigger part of the offense next season. And he feels that, with an extra year in the program, freshman Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant could be ready to hold down the position, along with juco transfer Brannon Green.

“I see it being a bigger part,” Stoops said. “I think it was more the inexperience. We tried it and there were too many, just overall, we didn’t feel they were quite ready to play at the level we needed.”

Coupled with the tight end inexperience, Stoops added that the emergence of transfer receivers Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown swayed the Sooners to run more four-wide sets, too.

“I think [that's the case] more than anything, and the experience that the wide receivers all had,” Stoops said. “As odd as it sounds to say, considering where we started with all of them, they were so productive and doing so well, we felt that was taking advantage of our personnel and experience the best.”

But with Brown and Kenny Stills gone, Stoops said he sees the Sooners returning to more tight end sets in 2013.

“We like our young guys and our guys coming up,” Stoops said. “We want our tight end packages to be more involved, definitely.”
Each week SoonerNation recruiting writers Bob Przybylo and Brandon Chatmon will faceoff on one issue regarding Oklahoma recruiting.

This week’s question: What has been the biggest disappointment for OU so far for its 2013 recruiting class?

[+] EnlargeBeau Sandland
Courtesy of Pierce CollegeUntil Oklahoma decides to utilize the tight end in the passing game more, prospects such as Beau Sandland will go elsewhere.
Bob Przybylo: The popular choice is ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning (Dallas/Kimball), but he had been openly flirting with Texas A&M the whole time and seemingly had been looking for a reason to not pick OU.

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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

November, 29, 2012
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Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • Crazy week continues for new OU commit
  • More on the defensive end situation

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Sandland content with patient approach 

November, 29, 2012
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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.

[+] EnlargeBeau Sandland
Courtesy of Pierce CollegeJuco tight end Beau Sandland is taking two more official visits before making his decison.
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.

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Juco TE Beau Sandland has a top 5 

November, 1, 2012
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Junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce) released his top five schools on Thursday morning, as the 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete whittled down a list of 25 offers.

Arizona State, Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech are the schools standing at the top for Sandland, who announced the list in a text message and said there is no order among the five.

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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

October, 4, 2012
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Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

  • An ESPN 150 defensive end/linebacker is still in play for OU
  • Could the Sooners add a commitment on Monday?

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TE Beau Sandland has to eliminate SEC 

October, 1, 2012
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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.

[+] EnlargeBeau Sandland
Courtesy of Pierce CollegeBeau Sandland has to eliminate SEC offers from his list because of an academic requirement.
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."

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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

August, 30, 2012
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Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• Mike Stoops' connection to one California school and what's in store for 2014.
• Are the Sooners targeting another juco tight end and will Beau Sandland take another visit to Norman?
• OU's quarterback commit talks about another phase of his game.

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Beau Sandland enjoys visit with Stoops 

August, 27, 2012
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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.

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Sooner Intel: Recruiting news and notes 

August, 23, 2012
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Every Thursday, SoonerNation releases the Sooner Intel, a sneak peek inside Oklahoma Sooners football recruiting with news and notes on the latest happenings around the program. Talk about it on our forum. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• A three-star defensive end isn't ruling out the Sooners.
• OU offers a junior college teammate of a 2012 signee.
• Are the Sooners targeting an offensive lineman from a school with a Sooners commit?
• Why a four-star prospect including OU in his top six wasn't a shock to one OU commit.
• There's another in-state defensive end to keep an eye on in the 2014 class.

Read the Sooner Intel after the jump.

Mixon not ruling out Sooners

There was a strong feeling that OU was going to be done with its defensive end recruiting after it offered Arizona State commit Dimarya Mixon (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) in late May.


Tom Hauck for ESPN.com
Dimarya Mixon is committed to Arizona State but will likely take other official visits.


Mixon committed to the Sun Devils earlier that month but had expressed a big interest in OU. But it’s almost September now and Mixon remains committed to ASU.

“Right now I’m really trying to just focus on my senior season,” Mixon said. “As we get closer to signing day or when the season ends, I’ll think about it more.”

That’s not to say the three-star prospect has forgotten about the Sooners. He said there was something special about getting the OU offer, and he has had contact with Bobby Jack Wright throughout this summer.

“Last time I spoke to him was probably two weeks ago,” Mixon said. “I think I have a pretty good relationship with him. I need to get on the phone more, but we still talk a lot.”

ASU, OU, West Virginia and Missouri were the schools Mixon mentioned when discussing the possibility of official visits. He is not sure who the fifth one will be.

One thing the Sun Devils have in their favor is that first-year coach Todd Graham is a native of Mesquite, Texas, which allowed Mixon and Graham to build an immediate rapport with each other.

There was some thought OU might consider moving Mixon to defensive tackle, but he said that’s not the case right now. Also, he said he hasn’t put on weight like he did last summer. He said he is a comfortable 250 pounds heading into his senior season.

Gregory excited by OU offer

If OU cannot turn Mixon into a commitment, maybe the answer is in the junior college ranks. The Sooners offered Randy Gregory (Yuma, Ariz./Arizona Western CC) on Monday.

Gregory signed with Purdue for the 2011 class but didn’t qualify academically. He is once again committed to the Boilermakers but said it’s an honor to be noticed by OU.

“It’s great. It’s really exciting,” Gregory said. “The coaching staff here said they had talked to OU a couple of days ago and said the offer might be coming. They came to a couple of spring practices so I already have a good start with Coach Wright.”

It’s a good start, but right now it’s not enough to sway Gregory away from West Lafayette, Ind. The OU offer is illustrating something to Gregory that he wanted to see during the recruiting process this time around.

Coming out of high school in Fishers, Ind., Gregory was viewed more as a regional prospect. With offers now from Utah, OU, Ole Miss and several others, Gregory is seeing coast-to-coast attention. And attention is going to mean a lot to Gregory.

“I need a school to show me a lot of love,” Gregory said. “I can’t even talk about official visits yet because I’m not sure which schools are the most serious about everything. We play our games Saturdays, too, so it’s going to be tough to plan those visits.”

Gregory said he sees both sides of the story regarding distance. He would love to come back home so his family could watch him play at Purdue. But he has also enjoyed the college life of being on his own.

One thing he focused on was getting his weight up. It worked.

“I played last year around 215 pounds,” Gregory said. “This year I’m at least 240, put on more than 25 pounds. But I have a real quick first step, and I move real well for as big as I am.”

Gregory said he has watched OU on TV for years and knows the Sooners have had a lot of success sending defensive players into the NFL. But he admits to knowing nothing about the campus and said he would need to visit if anything is going to change.

Gregory is a former teammate of OU running back Damien Williams. Gregory said Williams had nothing but great things to say about OU the last time they spoke to each other.

Korona an option at tackle

OU coaches are trying to make things easier for themselves. It seems like they have found a school in San Antonio Regan that they want to keep targeting.

And why not? OU found its 2012 quarterback in Trevor Knight. The Sooners have the commitment of 2013 four-star offensive tackle Matt Beyer. Now OU might be targeting Beyer’s counterpart in three-star tackle Sterling Korona.


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Junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) is making the most of his first foray into the recruiting process. A non-qualifier out of high school, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete turned in an impressive showing on the recruiting trail this offseason. Beginning in February, Sandland said it felt as though he collected an offer -- and sometimes two -- each day, through the end of spring. Though things have slowed considerably since then with the end of the spring evaluation period and fall camps starting, Monday proved that it isn’t over completely, as Tennessee stepped forward with a scholarship offer.

“It’s been fun,” Sandland said of recruiting. “This is the first time I’ve ever gone through it, so I didn’t fully know what to expect. You hear stories and see the sophomores from last year, but it’s been a really exciting and fun time. It can get a little hectic, but in a good way. It’s been really humbling talking to these schools and having offers from some of the top programs in the nation.”

Several SEC heavyweights extended offers to Sandland, including Florida, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi, though he took opportunities this summer to get a better feel for programs in other conferences. Pac-12 programs Arizona State, California and UCLA received unofficial visits, while Nebraska was the recipient of an official visit. This weekend, Sandland will travel for Oklahoma for his second official visit.

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TE Beau Sandland enjoying the ride 

July, 11, 2012
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It wasn’t unanimous, but when RecruitingNation asked prospects at Nike's The Opening last weekend what the worst part of being recruiting was, the consensus answer was being bugged by the media. While recruits might enjoy the initial attention, the daily calls and text messages from media members becomes more of an annoyance than anything else.

And that’s true if you’re a four-star or five-star prospect in high school. But what if you knew going into your senior season in high school you weren’t going to qualify? What if you were at a smaller school that didn’t stress recruiting?

[+] EnlargeBeau Sandland
Courtesy of Pierce CollegeBeau Sandland, a junior college tight end, is planning an August visit to Oklahoma.
Junior college tight end Beau Sandland might have some problems, but having to answer calls from the media is not one of them.

“Things could be a lot worse than having a lot of coaches wanting to call you and see you in person,” Sandland said. “It’s a good problem to have. At my high school we didn’t have any scouts coming through. We weren’t very good so people didn’t care.”

Now at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, Calif., though, it’s a much different story for Sandland, who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds. And it’s familiar ground for Oklahoma. The Sooners went after a couple of Pierce plsyers in the class of 2012 in cornerback Kass Everett and safety Gerald Bowman. OU was able to land Everett, while Bowman signed with USC.

Heading into the 2012 season, it appears Sandland is the No. 1 target for OU at tight end. Sandland was pretty high on the board anyway, but he has risen the last two weeks after the Sooners missed out on other targets. Tight end offers Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) and Lake Charles (La.) Barbe prospect DeSean Smith both committed to other schools. Mattingly selected Notre Dame, and Smith chose LSU.

“I didn’t even know that, to be honest,” Sandland said. “I’m not really looking at the tight end recruiting being done by other schools, at least the high school guys. I would pay attention if I found out a juco guy like myself was going to a school that has offered me.”

Sandland doesn’t have that problem at OU as he is the lone juco tight end offered. He took a visit to Nebraska last month and said he knows where he wants some of his other official visits to be.

The Sooners, Florida and Ole Miss will likely all receive a visit from Sandland, and he said he is still debating his fifth visit, with schools such as LSU and Miami (Fla.) in the running.

That doesn’t mean Sandland isn’t looking at a chance to stay on the West Coast, but he said he doesn’t want to waste an official visit on a school that he can drive to attend. Next weekend will be an example of that as Sandland said he is going to make an unofficial visit to Arizona State on July 20.

From there, it looks like OU will be next. He said he would like to take his official visit to Norman, Okla., in August.

“I talk to Coach [Bruce] Kittle on the phone frequently, and I’ve even talked with Coach [Bob] Stoops a couple of times," Sandland said. "I’m very comfortable with the OU staff, and I definitely want to see what the school has to offer.”


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