Like many big time recruits, Brandon McIlwain already knows plenty about the schools he has chosen to focus on. In his case, there are six of them.
Penn State is one of those programs. The Newtown, Pa., Council Rock North Class of 2016 quarterback has been to State College quite a bit. He has learned about the program’s tradition, its direction under head coach James Franklin, and how he would fit into quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne’s schemes.
All that was left to do, in a sense, was to see a Franklin-coached game. The four-star did that Saturday when he and his family took in the Lions’ 48-7 rout of Massachusetts.
“It was good to be able to get back up there and talk to all the coaches and stuff,” McIlwain said. “It was nice to be able to see some of the recruits, as well, and get to see [the team] play with a new staff in person.”
The four star was impressed by the atmosphere 99,155 inside Beaver Stadium provided. He saw it from numerous angles: the field before the game, the student section for a minute or two, and his seat behind Penn State’s bench.
“They had about 100,000 people there, and that’s always amazing,” McIlwain said. “That’s crazy, and it’s always loud when big things happen.
“It’s a great atmosphere.”
“They had about 100,000 people there, and that’s always amazing. That’s crazy, and it’s always loud when big things happen.”
He added the student section is a big reason why.
“They’re just really into the game and love their school and football program there,” he said.
Five verbal commitments to Penn State’s Class of 2015 were also on hand Saturday, and the junior said picking their brain about the program was especially helpful.
So was chatting with Franklin and Rahne, who both spent individual time with the talented passer.
“They love it, they love being committed to Penn State,” McIlwain said. “It’s like a family. None of them said anything about regretting it. It was a really good consensus.”
While the commits were drilling McIlwain with program insight from their view, the coaches took the opportunity to get to know the quarterback, and vice versa, on a more personal level.
“We were just catching up on how our seasons are going, and he [Franklin] told me that I’m a priority,” McIlwain said. “He wants me to come.
“I got to talk to Coach Rahne for a while. I keep up with him about every week or two, so we were really just catching up.”
McIlwain’s next visit will come Oct. 4 when Auburn plays host to LSU. The quarterback already visited South Carolina, and hopes to visit Florida and Duke. Those four programs, plus Penn State and Virginia Tech, make up his top six.
“South Carolina-Georgia, that was a great game,” McIlwain said. “It was a very intense game, and a good crowd that was into it the whole time.
“I love the atmosphere there, and I’ve gotten pretty close with the coaching staff there.”
The junior added he is hoping to make a decision sometime after his season ends. He intends to enroll early at the school he chooses.