It comes at something of a surprise to Beau Sandland that, from a list of scholarship offers that has swelled to 21 now, only one has come from his native California.
"It is a little funny to think I've got five or six offers from the SEC now and only one from here in California," said the four-star junior colelge tight end from Pierce College.
But that doesn't bother Sandland at all.
"Actually, I've come to the realization that, chances are, I'll be playing away from home," he said. "I've got some great opportunities, some great schools and football programs to choose from.
"The SEC, obviously, has great football and tradition. All the SEC teams, even the ones that aren't at the top of the polls, pack their stadiums and have really crazy fans. It's like a religion down there.
"Plus, you have the opportunity to challenge yourself against some of the best players and teams in the country. If you asked nine out of 10 people who played the best defense in the nation, they would say the SEC, and that 10th person would probably be stupid to say someone else. It's just a really attractive option for me."
One of those is Kentucky, who joined his offer sheet this summer after one of his former recruiting contacts at Ole Miss joined the football program at UK.
"I think he told them about me, and it wasn't too long after that where I was speaking to the head coach," Sandland said. "The very day I first spoke with them was the same day I picked up my offer."
Asked what Joker Phillips passed along to him in that introductory conversation, Sandland said: "He told me that they really liked what they had seen of me, and that they haven't had an explosive tight end like me since Jacob Tamme went there.
"They want another guy like that who can exploit some mismatches and catch a lot of passes. They kind of feel like I do that the tight end is the biggest mismatch on the field, and they really haven't had someone who could take advantage of defenses the way I can."
Sandland (6-6, 250, 4.6) is entering his sophomore season at Pierce College. Last season, he caught 20 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns.
His offer sheet now includes BCS programs such as UK, LSU, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Baylor, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Purdue, Rutgers and Utah.
When KentuckyScout spoke with Sandland on Thursday evening, he was at the airport preparing for an official visit.
"I'm actually at LAX right now waiting for my flight to Oklahoma," Sandland said. "I'll be out there this weekend for my official."
He has previously visited Arizona State unofficially and Nebraska officially. He plans to be at Ole Miss on the weekend of Sept. 15 when the Rebels play host to Texas during an open date on the Pierce schedule. "That should be a pretty fun atmosphere," he said.
"After the season, I'll probably take an official visit to Florida," Sandland added. "That fifth visit is still up in the air."
Asked if he has a leader, Sandland said: "No, not yet. I don't really have a top five, although, obviously, you can assume that I feel pretty strong about the schools I've been visiting. I'm really open, though. I won't make a decision until after my season, most likely."
Sandland, who expects to graduate in December and join his new college home in January, has three years of eligibility remaining to complete two seasons on the field.
Four-star juco TE talks about Kentucky offer
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