South Carolina quarterback Brandon McIlwain previously made it clear he was going to begin shifting his focus more to baseball than football starting this spring. Now, he will be focusing on finding a new place to call home. McIlwain announced, via Twitter, he has made the decision to transfer to a new school after the spring semester.
As a freshman in 2016, Mcilwain appeared in eight games for the Gamecocks last fall. In his time on the field, McIlwain combined for 600 passing yards and two touchdowns with an interception and 127 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. The dual-threat talent may still want to put himself in the bets possible baseball situation with his transfer if he is going to continue to use baseball as his preference, but he has the potential to bring something to the table with his football flexibility as well if placed in the right situation.
This transfer also takes a toll on the quarterback depth for Will Muschamp and the Gamecocks. Lorenzo Nunez previously opted out via transfer as well. It’s been a busy offseason for departures from the program in Columbia.
So long for having a veteran option to rely on at South Carolina. The Gamecocks’ are moving forward giving a pair of freshmen the chance to lead the offense for the remainder of the season. Jake Bentley and Brandon McIlwain will continue to take first-team reps with the offense
“I just feel like right now, just from an ability standpoint, those two guys give us the best opportunity,” South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp said during his Sunday teleconference, according to The Post and Courier. “And they’re just going to keep getting better. Both of them do things equally well, and we’ll continue to rep that way.”
Bentley made his season debut over the weekend, completing 17 of 26 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns against UMass. McIlwain has appeared in six games this season, completing 56-of-106 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. At 3-4, the Gamecocks can still make a run to a postseason bowl berth, but having a quarterback capable of lighting a spark on offense is essential. Bentley did that against UMAss, but games against Tennessee, Florida and Clemson in the second half of the season will prove to be more difficult.
Regardless, this means we may have seen the last of Perry Orth at quarterback for the Gamecocks. Orth will step aside as South Carolina’s leading passer with 661 passing yards and a completion percentage of 63.3 without a touchdown and two interceptions. The senior, a former walk-on, will remain influential on the sideline, however.
“Perry’s been great in terms of supporting our guys and talking to them on the sideline,” Muschamp said. “He’s been a great teammate, he’s a great young man, and he’s a guy who certainly is a valuable member of our organization, and a guy I’ve got the utmost respect for.”
It looks as though Ole Miss is bringing in a very talented and highly-respected quarterback in the Class of 2016. Shea Patterson, a five-star dual-threat quartreback from Shreveport, Louisiana was named the MVP of the Elite 11 camp in Oregon this week. Patterson finished in first place among the 25 quarterbacks invited to the high-profile football camp at Nike’s headquarters, and headlined the final Elite 11 class.
Maybe Texas has found a good quarterback as well. Longhorns commit, and four-star recruit, Shane Buechele finsihed in second place during the week. Other quarterbacks receiving elite status were KJ Costello (Stanford), Jacob Eason (Georgia), Feleope Franks (LSU), Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee), Dwayne Haskins (Maryland), Malik Henry (Florida State), Brandon McIlwain (South Carolina), Brandon Peters (Michigan) and Anthony Russo (Rutgers).
For those keeping score at home, that would be five Elite 11 quarterbacks heading to the SEC. Three are going to the Big Ten, and one each to the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12.