USC Gamecocks Football

Will Muschamp: Brandon McIlwain will be ‘full-time football’ in spring

VIDEO: Will Muschamp talks Brandon McIlwain

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses quarterback Brandon McIlwain, and lays out what the football-baseball split will look like.
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South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses quarterback Brandon McIlwain, and lays out what the football-baseball split will look like.

Freshman Brandon McIlwain is “full-time football” and will be expected to attend every spring football practice, South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday.

That will cut into McIlwain’s time with the Gamecocks’ baseball team, with which he’s already practicing.

“He’s on a football scholarship,” Muschamp said. “He’s doing a great job over at baseball right now, but he will be full-time football in spring. The time he has time to play baseball, he will certainly contribute to the baseball team.”

Last week, baseball coach Chad Holbrook told The State, “The generic discussions are this: if he’s in our starting lineup, and he’s playing, he can go to football in his free time. If he’s coming off the bench for us or a substitute player for us and there are some football responsibilities for that day, that’s where he needs to be.”

McIlwain, one of the top amateur baseball prospects in the country before signing with the Gamecocks in January, hit two home runs last weekend during scrimmages with the baseball team.

“Chad and I have talked a lot about it,” Muschamp said. “We’re on really good ground with what we need to do. When he’s not involved with football, he’ll be playing baseball.”

A four-star football prospect, McIlwain’s expected to compete for South Carolina’s starting quarterback position this spring. McIwain hasn’t been made available for interviews since signing.

“He’s an athlete who can run the ball, can throw it extremely well,” Muschamp said. “We are really excited about him.”

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp discusses the Gamecocks' 2016 signing class.

Seen enough

The Gamecocks feel good about the evaluation of all four of their offensive line signees – Akeem Cooperwood, Sadarius Hutcherson, Pika Leota and Will Putnam – because all four attended a summer camp in Columbia.

“It’s really, really important to get those guys on campus,” Muschamp said. “It’s critical that we get these guys in summer camp as we move forward. When you miss on a guy, lots of times you didn’t have him in camp. The film can lie sometimes. You need to be able to get them in camp and work with them, see how they are going to respond.”

Jones a no

Junior college running back Tyren Jones, who was briefly committed to the Gamecocks, won’t sign with the team this summer and isn’t expected to be a part of the team in the future. Jones originally signed with Alabama, but was dismissed from the Crimson Tide in 2015. He went on to play for Hutchinson Community College, hasn’t graduated from junior college. Jones told The State on Monday that he hoped to be able to sign this summer following his JUCO graduation, but a source said Wednesday that won’t happen.

Shout outs

Muschamp began his news conference by thanking 13 different people for their help with the recruiting class, ranging from school president Harris Pastides to Mary Beth Gomez, the property manager at 650 Lincoln, the housing for the majority of the football players.

“The biggest thing to me is the willingness of everyone on campus to help,” Muschamp said. “That’s a lot of these people free time and spare time and they are reaching out to us, ‘What can we do to help?’ That’s what makes this place special, the people you are involved with. It’s been really wonderful.”

Welcome

The Gamecocks held a signing ceremony for their six mid-year enrollees as part of Muschamp’s Wednesday news conference. None of the players were made available to speak to the media. Muschamp will continue to try to get as many of his signees as possible to enroll at the midyear.

“If they aren’t playing a spring sport, and they already have their credits done, it’s much more beneficial to them academically, socially and athletically to come to campus midyear,” he said. “They are at a much slower pace. We are able to do a much better job with them academically. It’s a huge benefit and in just about every situation I have been a part of, it’s been a very positive experience.”

South Carolina holds a special ceremony on National Signing Day to recognize midyear enrollees Chris Smith, CJ Freeman, Kobe Smith, Keir Thomas, Bryan Edwards and Brandon McIlwain.

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