Uh-oh. Head Coach Will Muschamp and his South Carolina football staff has been forced to deal with a fair number of transfers since taking over the program, but Wednesday afternoon’s breaking news out of Columbia is the program’s biggest blow to date.
Widely touted and former four-star dual threat quarterback prospect Brandon McIlwain announced via his Twitter account Wednesday he intends to transfer from the University of South Carolina.
Please respect my decision. God has a plan. 2 Corinthians 5:17 pic.twitter.com/u1nZJE5VP6— Brandon McIlwain (@Mc11wain) March 1, 2017
McIlwain, the widely sought after athlete for his ability to perform both on the football field and baseball diamond, was one of the prized jewels in South Carolina’s 2016 recruiting class and was the presumed future of the program at the quarterback position before the abrupt rise of fellow classmate Jake Bentley.
As a true freshman, McIlwain showed serious glimpses on the field making three starts to go along with six total appearances. He finished the 2016 season with five total touchdowns and over 700 yards of offense serving as a legitimate dual threat both with his arm and on the ground.
Aside from taking a backseat on the QB depth chart to Bentley, McIlwain’s lack of playing time with the baseball team may have been the tipping point on his decision to transfer and pursue further opportunity elsewhere. McIlwain will finish his career with the baseball team going 1-10 at the plate with one RBI. He had appeared in only one game so far this season with Chad Holbrook’s team coming in as a pinch runner.
Given that the two-sport athlete was presumably given every opportunity to participate with both the football and baseball teams and that both head coaches were willing to work around his packed schedule, the athletic program is certainly disappointed to learn of his departure.
What’s even more disheartening though is the now empty depth chart the Gamecocks are left with at quarterback. McIlwain was primed to serve as a viable, solid backup to Bentley in 2017, but now the Gamecocks are left with two scholarship players on the roster at the position with Bentley and junior Michael Scarnecchia, as the team awaits true freshman Jay Urich’s arrival this summer.
This is certainly a big blow Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will have to deal with as they prepare their quarterbacks for 2017.