Beau Sandland had an up-close view of Texas' 66-31 powerbombing of Ole Miss on Saturday night. He took in all nine Longhorn touchdowns from ringside. The four-star junior college tight end made the trip from California to Mississippi in an effort to evaluate the Rebels' program, so needless to say the on-field result wasn't the highlight of his weekend.
But Sandland is a realist. He didn't arrive in Oxford expecting to see the rebuilding Rebels hang with a top-15 team. He was undeterred by the public lashing.
"It didn't make a huge impact on me," Sandland said of the game. "It was kind of expected. Obviously a team like Texas playing Ole Miss … By halftime, Texas was laying it on them pretty good. They could have folded after that, but they really stuck in it."
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"Atmosphere" was the buzzword following the visit, not "blowout." Sandland said the game day environment helped raise the Rebels' standing in his recruitment despite the 35-point loss. The game itself was just a small part of the takeaway. The bigger picture, he says, was a much prettier sight.
"It's definitely a different kind of football," Sandland said. "It's like a religion down there. It's great to see that. Anybody would want to play in an atmosphere like that. The support that you get down there is going to be a big plus for anybody. Nobody says, 'I want to play at a smaller school with mediocre fans that don't really care.'"
And so Ole Miss will stick around near the front of the race to land the Pierce Community College product. You could have inferred a few of Sandland's favorite schools by looking at his official visit list, but on Sunday afternoon, he finally named them publicly.
The Rebs? They're still hanging tough.
"I know in my head that I'm really high on Nebraska," Sandland said. "I'm really high on Ole Miss, too. I'm really high on Florida and I'm really high on Arizona State. Those are the ones that pop to my head. Those are the ones I've built a great relationship with.
"A lot of schools have self-eliminated themselves by not talking to me for a couple months or really making much of an effort. That makes cutting the list easier, when they do it to themselves."
Saturday's tilt in Oxford is the only college football game Sandland will attend this year. His next visit will come to Florida after the conclusion of his junior college season. He plans to make his decision following touring Gainesville in December.