Brandon McIlwain is a four star dual-threat quarterback recruit in the 2016 recruit cycle. He's ranked as one of the top dual-threat QB options in the entire country, and currently plays for Council Rock North High School in Newtown, PA. Brandon currently holds a top six of South Carolina, Penn State, Auburn, Duke, Virginia Tech and Florida (in no particular order). Thanks to Brandon for taking the time to update us on his recruitment.
Do you have a basic update on your recruitment right now? Which schools are talking to you the most, and which schools are you looking at the most? Is it still just the same top six?
It's still mainly my top six. There are other schools who are still contacting me, who I mostly talk to through DMs on twitter. But the main schools I am keeping in contact with are my top six schools.
Have you started to narrow down more or separate any of your top six yet?
Not really, I've still yet to visit all the schools. I've only visited three of the six schools so I really can't make any more cuts or put any schools above the others yet, until I can see them all.
What is it about Penn State that separates them from the rest of the schools in the country?
It's an in-state place, so it's not too far away from home. It's a place where they're doing a great job of recruiting right now. It's a program on the rise with Coach Franklin and the staff there. I really like the staff, I've been up there a few times and I've been able to form really good relationships with all of them. It's close to home, close to family. The new offense, I really like what their running now, they're trying to incorporate more dual threat things into the offense.
How important is it to you to be close to home?
It really isn't a big factor, I have family all up and down the East Coast, so wherever I go I'll have some part of my family near me. It doesn't really play a big factor, it's more down to the school, to see how I feel like I'll fit in their program and how I feel at that school.
What sets apart South Carolina for you?
It's near family, I have a lot of family down in that area. It's also a good offense for me, I can really see myself fitting into that offense. I've also been talking to those coaches for a while, since my freshman year, so I've gotten to build a really good relationship with them and I've been able to visit there a few times. The atmosphere at the game is amazing and it's a great place to go and watch a game. Really the big thing there is the relationship I have with the coaches. I talk to them a lot and I can really see that I'm their guy there and that I fit into their program.
Does weather play any factor into your commitment? Are you interested in getting away from the Pennsylvania cold?
Wherever you play you're going to have to play cold games anyway. In each league there are teams that play in some cold weather and it does get cold in the south. Obviously not as cold as it does in the northeast, but it still gets cold. I'll still have to play some colder games, so it really doesn't play much of a factor for me.
What sets Duke apart for you?
Duke is another place where I've been talking to the coaches for a while. Coach Cutcliffe and Coach Montgomery have great track records as recruiters and coaches, and being able to develop quarterbacks very well. They have a good system for me where I can see myself playing. They use a lot of dual threat concepts. Then the academics at Duke are unbeatable. It's a great place, a great campus, and it's a place that provides a lot of opportunities for after college. I've loved the coaching staff, I've loved talking to them and keeping in contact with them, and I can see myself fitting in there.
Quick hitters about the other three schools in your top six?
Auburn is a place where my school has modeled our offense off of, so I can really see myself fitting directly into that system.
Virignia Tech has a great offensive coordinator with Coach Loeffler, I've got a great relationship with him, and he's a coach that's proven to be a great quarterback developer.
Florida, I love Coach Roper down there, I've talked to him for a while, he's a very smart coach. It's in a nice location, and I have family around that area so it's another place I'm interested in.
How does the flip of Brandon Wimbush to Notre Dame affect you? I know the possibility for early playing time is very important for you.
I mean, not much. I know wherever I go there's going to be a lot of competition, whether it's quarterbacks in my grade or a year older than me, or two years older than me. So wherever I go there's going to be competition and the potential for early playing time is really everywhere if you can earn the spot. So it doesn't really make a big difference for me. Obviously it does change the situation there a little bit, there's one less quarterback, but I know the way Penn State's been recruiting they're going to go out and find another quarterback who's just as good. They've been doing a great job with recruiting, so I know they'll be able to get another guy, so it really doesn't change much for me.
Do you have any plans for a return trip to Penn State yet?
I'm not sure yet. I was already up for a game a little earlier in the year. Right now the only things I have planned are my last three visits to Florida, Virginia Tech, and Duke.
Which coaches do you mainly talk to from Penn State? Do you get a chance to talk with Coach Franklin much?
I talk with Coach Franklin probably every other time I talk to someone at Penn State, whether it's Coach Rahne or Coach Spencer, those are the main two I keep in contact with. But I talk with Coach Franklin probably every other time I talk to them, so I get to speak with him pretty frequently.
Knowing that you're planning on enrolling early and that you want to visit everyone in your top six at least once before committing, do you have a timeline laid out for yourself yet for when you think you're going to want to commit?
I want to commit sometime at the end of December or early January, but it's also not going to be something I'm going to rush. If there's not one school that I really, really like over the others, it could change, it could be later. But I really am planning on doing it late December, early January.
Thanks again to Brandon for taking the time to talk.
You can follow him on twitter at @BFMcIlwainqb12.