Junior QB Brandon McIlwain of Newtown, PA plans to make his college decision within the next month.
He has been working with a six of USC, Penn State, Auburn, Florida, Duke and Virginia Tech and he does not plan to publicly shorten that list before making his commitment. He was able to visit USC, Penn State, Auburn and Florida during the season. McIlwain, who has family in Irmo and Greenville, was back in the state over Thanksgiving.
Of his final schools, McIlwain said he's talking the most with USC, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Auburn and is not talking that much with Duke and Florida at this point. He talked with USC recruiter GA Mangus on Wednesday and Mangus was by his school twice in the the last two weeks. He plans to talk to Steve Spurrier sometime next week.
McIlwain, of course, has been tuned in to the chatter about Spurrier's future but remains unmoved by all of that.
"It really doesn't affect me that much," he said. "As long as I can see that the kind of culture of the place is still there even if he does leave, they still are definitely still up there and definitely in my top to me. It doesn't make too big of a difference to me. Obviously I hope he stays because I love him as a coach and I think he's a great guy. I don't see him retiring anytime soon."
McIlwain is not ready to declare a clear favorite though he has USC high up on the list.
"Whenever that clear leader separates itself is when I'll make my commitment," he said. "The schools are still pretty close right now. It's been helpful that Penn State, South Carolina and Auburn are the schools I've been keeping in touch with the most. I'm really getting to talk to those schools and think thru everything and hear everything they have going on. All three places are in very different situations. I guess those three schools are the schools that have moved to the top a little bit."
And with those three getting most of McIlwain's attention, part of his decision process will be focused on the offenses of the three head coaches , Gus Malzahn, Spurrier and James Franklin.
"Auburn is very similar to the offense I run in ny high school and I know they are going to put up big numbers and they are going to have great players around there," McIlwain said. "There is going to be a lot of run and gun for the quarterback and I can really show that I can do both as a passer and a runner there. Franklin's offense and South Carolina's offense, they both are a little more of a pro-style base and that's where I can show the passing from the pocket and things like that while also being able to run the ball, too, because both teams have run the zone read when they have that type of quarterback. All three are very, very appealing offenses and that's a big reason they stayed in the top group."
McIlwain will stay home for the holidays until going to the Army All American Combine in San Antonio January 1st.