One of the top names in the 2016 recruiting class is South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Brandon McIlwain. Not only was he a standout on the football field at Council Rock North outside Philadelphia, he was also regarded as one of the top high school baseball players in the country. Experts projected him as a first-round pick in the MLB Draft had he decided to turn his attention to playing professionally on the diamond.
Now, as he prepares for classes to begin tomorrow at the university, McIlwain has a chance to make an impact for both Will Muschamp and Chad Holbrook. However, his primary focus will be in one place.
"My scholarship is through football. I signed the financial aid papers through football, so football is my priority," he said. "That's kind of where most of my time is going to be spent and working out with the team. If I can do the stuff I need to do and I can contribute on the baseball team, then they're going to have me do that as well.
As a junior in spring 2015, McIlwain hit .433 with five home runs and 25 RBI. On the mound, he was 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA; in 41 innings he allowed just 13 earned runs while striking out 38 and walking 21. With numbers like that - along with his football stats - it's no wonder the ABC affiliate up in Philadelphia compared him to Bo Jackson. But even if he doesn't succeed as an athlete (and we don't see any reason why he won't), he's a rock solid student in the classroom, the type of rooted and grounded kid that any coach would love to have.
McIlwain is already getting settled into things in Columbia, and already has his baseball jersey ready to go.
Brandon's baseball number! So excited. pic.twitter.com/SH0jZeZMBj— Roddy Mcilwain (@McilwainRoddy) January 10, 2016