Brandon McIlwain is projected to be top signal caller in Pennsylvania for the 2016 recruiting cycle. While that is still a long ways off, the staff knows that in order to have a successful 2016, they need to put in the groundwork well before then. Brandon was one of a few sophomores that was invited to Penn State's Junior Day last weekend, which shows how much of a priority he is for the staff already. He was rewarded with a scholarship offer before he left State College. The Newtown, PA product sat down with me to answer a few questions about his recruitment.
How was junior day?
It was amazing. Being able to see the campus and connect with the coaches and build better relationships with them was awesome. And then when Coach Franklin offered me that tops it off, that made it an amazing time.
Aside from receiving the offer, did you have a favorite part of the visit?
I liked hearing what the coaches had to say, and what they see as the future of the program. There was a video they showed of what they want to do this year, and the speeches from all the coaches-especially Coach Franklin. It was a lot of fun.
Being a sophomore, you still have plenty of time to think about where you're going to attend school. So where are you in your process right now?
I still don't really believe that it's all happening. It's surreal. I'm really just exploring options. I still am talking to the coaches as frequently as possible, building relationships with the coaches. I do plan on making some kind of commitment after my junior year, my junior summer.
Brandon is planning on enrolling early wherever he ends up.
Is the process just all fun right now, or is it starting to get a little annoying at times?
It's still a lot of fun. All of the coaches are really nice, really good guys and it's fun to keep in contact with them and build relationships. It's all a lot of fun.
Do you have any idea of what your top group is starting to look like right now?
The schools that offer me early have the upper leg, because I really respect that, and they respect me enough to do that too, and I get to build a relationship earlier with them. But any clear favorites, that's kind of tough to say. I'm just exploring my options.
What really are you looking for in a school?
I'm looking for, first of all how the coaches are. I want to see if I feel like I'll be able to work well with the coaches for four years. Then academics are really important, you have to be good academically, and have a high graduation rate. And then playing time is another big thing. I want to be able to have an opportunity to play for a starting position early in my college career. I want to have the opportunity to play for as long as I can.
Knowing all of that, where do you feel like you stand with Penn State right now?
Definitely good. Coach Franklin says you're at a top school, top academic school, you're going to have an opportunity to play early. The whole college atmosphere is amazing. Penn State is a great school academically and athletically, and I really like it there.
The dual threat quarterback is going to be another big test to Franklin's Dominate the State philosophy in the future, as Brandon will be one of the most sought-after quarterbacks in the country. Even with 2015 recruiting really on the forefront of most coaches minds right now, Brandon has still picked up offers from Boston College, Florida, Ohio State, South Carolina, and Temple in addition to the Nittany Lions (with Florida and Ohio State's offers coming at the very end of last week). I'll have plenty more on Brandon as the year goes on, as he will be one of the high profile 2016 recruits that we will be talking about all the way up to his commitment. Thanks for taking the time to talk, Brandon!