USC Recruiting

Brandon McIlwain likes what he hears from new USC coaches

Brandon McIlwain
Brandon McIlwain tglantz@thestate.com

South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, along with assistants Kurt Roper and Travaris Robinson, met with quarterback commitment Brandon McIlwain and his family Wednesday afternoon in their home in Newtown, Pa.

It was the first meeting for the new coaches with the prize of USC’s 2016 recruiting class, and he had several questions for the trio. On Wednesday night, McIlwain said he’s satisfied with the answers for now.

“I asked them where they see the program going and what their plans are for the program, where they see me fitting into the offensive scheme and things like that,” McIlwain said. “I was really happy with the answers. They want to run a spread, hurry-up offense and run as many plays as they can to get as many chances to score. They love the way I play and the way that I can move and throw the ball to begin with, because accuracy is the most important thing for a quarterback, and the way I can move and use my feet to extend plays is exactly what they are looking for. Also, they were saying how they were really excited for the future of the program. They have a lot of things they can build on and they see a foundation there that they are excited to continue to build on that in the next few years.”

McIlwain is no stranger to Muschamp and Roper because he was recruited by Florida and had the Gators in his top two before committing to the Gamecocks nearly a year ago. He said he’d already developed a good relationship with Roper before Wednesday’s visit.

“He’s an amazing coach and an amazing teacher of the game,” he said. “He’s extremely smart and understands football, understands the quarterback position very well. He’s someone I feel I can learn from extremely well and he’s going to help me reach my potential and become a lot better at quarterback.”

One of the other points of the conversation dealt with the possibility that 2017 quarterback Jake Bentley, the son of new USC running backs coach Bobby Bentley, will join the program as well and the issues that can arise from a father-son situation. McIlwain said to him, it’s not an issue at all.

“He is a year behind me and I’m confident that when I get there I’m going to prove myself and I’m not going to have to worry about that,” he said. “That’s not something I’m worried about because I know that the way that I can compete and the way that I can play, that’s not going to be a big worry. It’s the coaches’ job to bring in the best players at every position in every class. If that happens to be him, then that’s him, but it’s not something that I’m worried about because I love competition and I’ll keep trying to compete with the kid, but I’m confident in what I can do and I’m confident in my abilities.”

McIlwain and his family will be in Columbia this weekend for the official visit, and he said after that he will know if he’s going to enroll early and eliminate the option of the pro baseball draft for the next three years. It would also mean no other official visits for him. If he doesn’t enroll early, other official visits are possible.

He said he’s also remained in touch with his former USC recruiter G.A. Mangus, and if he does not enroll early at USC, McIlwain said a look at the school where Mangus lands is possible.

“He’s a guy that’s recruited me and I had a great relationship with him, but nothing like that can really be said until we see where he does end up,” McIlwain said. “It could be a school that I like and I’ll give it a look because I have so much respect for Coach Mangus and I loved everything about the way he recruited me. I’ll definitely at least give it a look, but South Carolina is where I’m committed and that’s kind of how it is right now.”

McIlwain added that he doesn’t have a feel for where Mangus might end up.

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.

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