McIlwain talks football, baseball balance – 247Sports.com
Incoming South Carolina quarterback Brandon McIlwain went on the record with Reynolds and Gunter about his decision to join the Gamecocks baseball and football program in January.
With McIlwain, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2016 recruiting cycle and a top 40 baseball prospect, hitting the ground running with both sports this coming semester, the big question many fans and observers have is how will he handle two major sports at once this spring?
“I am going to try to do as much as I can,” he said. “My goal is to play football and baseball at South Carolina and that is what I am going to try to do. I am going to have to learn to balance it, but the coaches are great with it. They’ve laid it out and showed me how I can do it. Both (USC football head coach Will Muschamp) and (head baseball coach) Chad Holbrook are very excited to help me get through it. If I am not going to get playing time in baseball, then I am going to be spending most of my time with football, but if I am playing a lot in baseball, then if I have a game, I won’t have to worry about a football workout or something like that.”
When McIlwain made the decision to enroll early, both Gamecocks coaches were fired up about adding such a talented prospect to their respective programs.”
“They both had some pretty excited reactions,” McIlwain said. “(Holbrook) said he wanted to jump through the phone and give me a bear hug, so he was probably more excited, but Muschamp was very excited as well.”
McIlwain spoke on the football side of things and the advantage he will get by enrolling early.
“Being able to graduate early allows me to get more reps and get down there with (USC offensive coordinator) Kurt Roper and hopefully be able to play early,” McIlwain said. “It was a gut feeling. I was ready to enroll early and get to college and get everything going. We made sure we looked at the pros and cons of every option I had and this seemed like the one that is the most beneficial.”
Some national media criticized McIlwain’s decision to forego the Major League Baseball Draft and a potential signing bonus worth millions.
“There’s a lot that goes into the decision and a big part of it is what my dream is,” he said. “My dream is to play football and baseball at South Carolina and then hopefully go to the NFL. I also have family in South Carolina and I wouldn’t get a chance to spend time with them had I gone with MLB route.”
McIlwain’s grandmother lives in the Palmetto State and certainly was happy to see her grandson make the call to be closer
“She wanted me to go to South Carolina very badly,” he said. “She was very excited.”
McIlwain’s last day of high school is Jan. 8. He will enroll at South Carolina on Jan. 11 and be on campus at that time.