After an official visit to California in mid-March, South Carolina transfer Brandon McIlwain shut down his nascent re-recruitment, not going on any more visits. On Saturday, the former four-star quarterback announced that Berkeley will indeed be his transfer destination. McIlwain was set to visit Arizona, Baylor and Virginia.
McIlwain is a two-sport, dual-threat athlete, who played quarterback and outfield for the Gamecocks, and will continue to do so for the Bears, both at Memorial Stadium and Evans Diamond.
McIlwain took in the first of a three-game set between the Cal baseball team and Oregon, attending the Pac-12 home opener on March 17 with quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo and offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin.
Being able to play both sports was one of the big reasons why McIlwain originally considered the Bears, although his roots in the Bay Area -- he was born locally, before moving to Pennsylvania for high school, and works out with local quarterbacks coach Will Hewlett -- also played a major role.
After growing up in the Bay Area, McIlwain moved to Newtown, Penn., where he attended Council Rock North. He threw for the former Cal football coaching staff between his junior and senior years, but wound up choosing to attend his father's alma mater -- South Carolina -- as a two-sport athlete, committing on Dec. 31, 2014, and enrolling in January of 2016.
Before he hit the gridiron for the Gamecocks, McIlwain hit .414 with seven homers, 28 RBI and 22 stolen bases as a junior at Council Rock North, going 7-3 on the mound with a 1.26 ERA, 42 strikeouts and 13 walks. He was a Perfect Game All-American and played in the Area Code Games, and was considered to be a potential first round pick in the MLB Draft, rated as the No. 16 high school prospect in the nation by Baseball American and DI Baseball.
McIlwain was rated a four-star quarterback coming out of high school, the No. 12 quarterback in the class, and the No. 2 quarterback in the East Region. In his prep career, McIlwain racked up 10,427 total yards of offense and 124 touchdowns (6,545 yards and 54 touchdowns passing; 3,882 yards and 70 scores rushing). He was the 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year in Pennsylvania.
As a true freshman, the 6-foot, 190-pound quarterback played in eight football games, completing 62 of 118 passes for 600 yards and two touchdowns to one interception. He also carried the ball 63 times for 127 yards and two rushing touchdowns. McIlwain started three games as a true freshman, before fellow true freshman Jake Bentley took over the job at the end of the year.
In his first collegiate season on the diamond, he played in eight games, hit .100 (1-for-10) with a RBI.
McIlwain will have three years of eligibility left, but because of NCAA transfer rules, will likely have to sit for a season before contending for the Bears' starting quarterback job.