"My coach gave me [Heckendorf's] number so I called him and we talked about [my workout]," McIlwain said. "He said how he was impressed about how well I threw. And then he said he relooked at my tape and he wanted to offer me a scholarship."
Eighteen schools have offered McIlwain, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder. Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, and Virginia highlight his list of potential suitors.
"I was very excited about [the UNC offer] and I felt very blessed by it," McIlwain said. "Obviously it's a great school and it's a school I want to look at and visit."
McIlwain learned of UNC's interest in him a couple of weeks ago when his head coach told him that Heckendorf scheduled the Tuesday trip.
Although his knowledge of UNC is limited, McIlwain says his interest in the Tar Heels is "high."
"With all the schools that have offered me, I have a high interest," McIlwain said. "This summer is when I'm really going to do a lot of the visits and see which schools are at the top of my list and which schools that I can't really see myself at."
McIlwain plans to include a trip to UNC among his summer travels. In the meantime, he plans to do some research on his own and keep in regular contact with Heckendorf. Tuesday evening's phone conversation with Heckendorf served as a great introduction.
"We started talking about the offense and how they don't like a dual threat quarterback – they like a quarterback who can throw first but can also make plays with his feet," McIlwain said. "We talked about how they are academically and athletically."
McIlwain has already made visits to Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Temple.
Since his freshman season, McIlwain has started in a no-huddle, spread offense similar to the scheme employed by Auburn. He relied more on his legs than his arm as a freshman, completing 49-percent of his passes for 1,370 yards and nine touchdowns with 15 interceptions, while rushing for 715 yards and 11 scores on 165 carries. In his sophomore season, his completion percentage improved to 53-percent as did his touchdown-to-interception ratio (11:9). Also that season he accumulated 1,446 yards through the air and added 594 yards and 10 touchdowns on 104 rushes.