Columbia, S.C. — The biggest smile in the room no doubt belonged to Brandon McIlwain.
National Signing Day typically isn’t full of the glitz and the glam for early enrollees like it is for other recruits around the nation, but Wednesday, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp wanted to be sure his six early enrollees still had their moment in the spotlight.
McIlwain sat down, donned a South Carolina hat and lit up as the cameras flashed. There was a feeling in the room that this incoming dual-threat quarterback in particular, was ecstatic to be in Columbia, S.C. That much was certain.
But what wasn’t certain until Wednesday was exactly how McIlwain would spend his time in Columbia. The four-star quarterback is also a member of South Carolina’s baseball team as an outfielder, in addition to being the football team’s highest-ranked recruit.
It wasn’t clear if in the Spring, McIlwain would turn his focus fully to baseball before returning to football in the fall once he completed his duties on the diamond. But Muschamp made it clear that football is where McIlwain’s priorities will lie.
“He’ll be full-time football. He’s on a football scholarship,” Muschamp said. “(Baseball coach) Chad (Holbrook) and I have talked a lot about it, we’re on pretty good ground with what we need to do there. When he’s not involved with football, he will be playing baseball.”
Asked if that meant McIlwain will be expected to attend every Spring practice, Muschamp responded with a resounding “Absolutely.”
McIlwain was ranked the nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and was also named the state of Pennsylvania’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year. He could have taken his chances in the MLB Draft — where he could have potentially gone in the first two rounds according to the State’s Phil Kornblut — but chose to take the college route instead.
Muschamp is glad he did, and even more so that he chose South Carolina.
“That was huge for us. We needed to sign a quarterback in this class and he’s a guy that was offered when I was at the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “He’s an athlete that can run the ball, can throw it extremely well. We’re really excited about him.”