South Carolina quarterback commitment Brandon McIlwain, of Newtown, Pa., was visited this week by USC and Penn State recruiters.
Penn State quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne visited McIlwain Wednesday, after the quarterback had visited Happy Valley for a game late in the season. On Monday, USC quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus was in to see him. It was the first in-person contact for McIlwain with his South Carolina recruiter since the summer.
“It was great,” McIlwain said. “He spent a couple of hours with me and my parents. It’s always good to talk to Coach Mangus and spending some time with him. He said they are not going to hold anything up (on a new coach) or delay, so as soon as they figure out who the new head coach is going to be, they’ll announce it and let me know, and we’ll kind of go from there.”
McIlwain said he hasn’t been following the coaching search that closely and he doesn’t have a choice for the head coaching job, but he does have one wish.
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“To me, honestly, the biggest thing is just having Coach Mangus on the staff,” McIlwain said. “Whatever it really takes to have Coach Mangus on the staff is good for me.”
And if he’s not retained?
“We’ll just have to go from there,” he said. “I still love South Carolina. I fell in love with the school. I fell in love with the atmosphere there and I have family down there. There are still a lot of things to me that are attractive about South Carolina. Again, Coach Mangus is one of them, but it’s definitely not an end all, be all and we’ll have to see when we get to that.”
Along with Penn State, Cal is another school McIlwain said he’s heard from recently. He hasn’t scheduled any official visits. He wants to take his USC visit after the coaching staff is solidified.
There are other factors contingent on the Gamecocks hiring a new coach. McIlwain said he won’t make a decision on enrolling early or returning to high school for the spring semester until the USC staff is whole. He also said he’ll decide if he’ll take other official visits.
Pro baseball still lurks in the background for McIlwain, an outfielder viewed as a top-two round pick for this summer’s draft.
“It’s a great opportunity, but the opportunity to play football and baseball at a top-tier school like South Carolina is also an amazing opportunity,” he said. “It’s something that I have to look at because of just what it is and the opportunity that it presents but I’ve been committed to South Carolina for so long that the opportunity there is just as great, if not greater. It’s not completely about the (baseball) money. There are a lot of other things that go into that decision, and eventually some type of money figure (for signing pro baseball).”
McIlwain is regarded as one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks. This season, he passed for 1,727 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,528 yards and 30 touchdowns.