South Carolina’s crowded quarterback competition started with five players vying for the starting job. It appears coach Will Muschamp is beginning to narrow down the contenders.
Muschamp said that two quarterbacks have stood out in particular during spring practice: Senior Perry Orth and freshman Brandon McIlwain. Both players have “distanced” themselves from the pack as March concludes, according to The State’s Josh Kendall.
Orth entered the spring as the closest thing to the incumbent after going 1-7 as a starter last year, with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. However, Orth will miss the rest of spring practice with a broken collarbone, which he suffered last week during a team scrimmage. That opens the door up for the freshman McIlwain, who entered Columbia, S.C., rated as the No. 2 dual-threat QB in the country.
“He’s made a lot of strides. Obviously he has a lot of ability,” Muschamp said of McIlwain, per Kendall. “I’ve been very pleased with his progress.”
Progress, potential and opportunity might be in McIlwain’s favor, but he is still a true freshman who is susceptible to his fair share of freshman miscues — and is still developing as a leader. Redshirt junior Connor Mitch is very well in the mix and Kendall says he will get some first-team reps before spring ball is over. Sophomore Lorenzo Nunez cannot be ruled out, once he fully recovers from a sprained knee.
Although Orth and McIlwain have been more impressive than others during spring practice, Muschamp said he is far from naming a starter.
“In a perfect world, you’d love somebody to step forward,” Muschamp said, per Kendall, “but we have made some progress at the position.”