Cal athletics is experiencing the recruiting version of Christmas Eve; the presents are well insight, but the Bears will have to wait before they can be unwrapped.
Brandon McIlwain, who played quarterback for the University of South Carolina last season, has announced his transfer to Cal and his intent to play both football and baseball. Cal head coaches Justin Wilcox and David Esquer must be chomping at the bit, but McIlwain will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules.
McIlwain announced his decision over Twitter and included a picture of him playing baseball as well as one of him playing football. He is also a dual threat at quarterback, using his feet as often as he uses his arm, throwing for 600 yards and running for 127 yards in his first year with the Gamecocks.
McIlwain graduated high school early and enrolled at South Carolina in January 2016, meaning he was eligible to play baseball in 2016 and 2017, but only played in 2016 and went 1-10 over eight games.
The football team is currently in the middle of a quarterback competition in which neither candidate has distanced themselves from the other. Redshirt junior Chase Forrest seems to currently be in the lead, but sophomore Ross Bowers is certainly on his heels.
McIlwain only has one season under his belt, but with his three starts as a Gamecock, he has more experience than either Forrest or Bowers.
The Bears found themselves in a similar situation last year. The quarterback picture was hazy before they turned to then-transfer Davis Webb, who played his way into a third-round selection in this year’s NFL draft. Unlike McIlwain, Webb was a graduate student, so he did not need to sit out a season.
McIlwain could be a good fit in Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin’s system. Baldwin was previously the head coach at Eastern Washington University and last year’s Eagles squad relied on its quarterback for 32 yards on the ground per game.