Quarterback Brandon McIlwain of Newtown, Pa., on Wednesday announced he has committed to South Carolina for the Class of 2016.
McIlwain (6-1, 210) also considered Penn State, Auburn, Florida, Duke, Cal and Virginia Tech during the recruiting process. He narrowed his list to the Gamecocks, Nittany Lions, Tigers and Bears before choosing USC. He is the Gamecocks’ third commitment for the 2016 class.
USC recruiter and quarterbacks coach GA Mangus targeted McIlwain from his freshman season because of his similarity in skills to former Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw. The Gamecocks also had an in with McIlwain because his father went to USC and he has family living in Irmo and Greenville. All that added up to an end of year recruiting victory for the Gamecocks.
“It just felt like home to me,” McIlwain said. “And throughout this whole thing I’ve been the only quarterback they offered in my class. That really made a big impact on me. That let me know that I’m their guy and I’m the quarterback they really wanted for my class.”
McIlwain is considered a four-star prospect and the nation's No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class, according to 247Sports' Composite rankings.
He said he’s developed a strong relationship with Mangus over the months of recruiting and looks forward to working under him and Steve Spurrier.
“He’s been truthful with me since the beginning,” he said of Mangus. “He’s told me exactly how it is from the beginning. He was also one of the first coaches to offer me. He’s kind of seen my talent from the beginning and believed in me. Coach Spurrier is obviously another amazing coach. I’ve gotten to talk to him a good amount too. He’s a real funny guy and a great coach. I like him and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
This season McIlwain passed for 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns, and he has no doubt he’ll be a perfect fit in the Gamecocks offense.
“Since my freshman year Coach Mangus has compared me to Connor Shaw,” he said. “He was the perfect example of a quarterback who could throw and run very well at a high level. My ability to run is the big thing for me. I’ll fit into their offense well with their zone concepts and get the quarterback on the move. And I like to throw the ball around a lot, and that puts me in a great position in their offense and makes me fit very well.”
McIlwain said he will work on all aspects of his game this summer, including getting faster and stronger. He also plans to dive into USC’s recruiting for 2016 in an effort to lure more highly rated players to the program.
McIlwain plans to enroll in school in January 2016. He is the 22nd quarterback in the 2016 class to make a commitment, according to 247Sports.
He also is the Gamecocks' third pledge for the next class, joining wide receiver Kyle Davis of Lawrenceville, Ga., and linebacker JaCorey Morris of Grove Hill, Ala.