Matt Connolly

No reason for concern despite McIlwain’s limited opportunities in baseball

Brandon McIlwain isn’t contributing as much on the baseball diamond early in his South Carolina career as some thought he might, but there’s no reason for Gamecocks fans to be concerned about his future.

The freshman is balancing his first semester of college classes with spring football and playing for one of the best baseball programs in the SEC, all at 17 years of age.

McIlwain has only played in seven games this season without making a start, but USC coach Chad Holbrook said the two-sport athlete is progressing well.

“Brandon’s been fine. His BP and his practice time has been extremely impressive. His attitude is great, and he comes down here every day to try to get better. He’s had a lot on his plate,” Holbrook said. “He has not at all gotten down on himself or the fact that he hasn’t played or changed his attitude whatsoever. He’s come down here every day smiling and wants to get better.”

McIlwain has attended every football practice this spring and also has been at almost every baseball game.

He has yet to play in a game on the same day as a football practice, but has made it to the dugout to cheer on his teammates.

“When he has the chance to be down here, he’s down here,” Holbrook said. “He rushed from football practice the other day and got down here and wanted to be in the dugout with the guys. I think our guys enjoy having him around, and I think he enjoys being around our guys.”

The football team’s spring game is April 9, and Holbrook expects McIlwain to contribute more when he’s able to focus on baseball.

“He’s still the prospect that he was before the season started,” Holbrook said. “He’s going to do great things. I have no doubt in my mind about it. I hope it’s sooner rather than later, but the kid’s also very, very committed to being the best quarterback he can be, and I certainly as his baseball coach respect the heck out of that.”