Dual-sport athlete Brandon McIlwain leaves football program to prioritize baseball

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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After being drafted in the 26th round of the 2019 MLB draft by the Miami Marlins, dual-sport athlete Brandon McIlwain has chosen to focus solely on baseball over football in his redshirt junior year, according to head football coach Justin Wilcox.

“Brandon has chosen to focus on baseball. So we wish him nothing but the best,” Wilcox said at Wednesday’s Pac-12 Football Media Day. Wilcox’s confirmation ends a summerlong saga involving McIlwain and his future at Cal.

McIlwain was forced to accept an unclear role under Wilcox after an underwhelming redshirt sophomore season at quarterback, posting a 62 percent completion rate with two passing touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine games. He played sparingly as the season wore on, making his last appearance against Washington State on Nov. 3.

His subsequent transition to “athlete” on Wilcox’s roster during the spring was the beginning of the end of his time under the lights at California Memorial Stadium. Before his injury on the diamond, McIlwain tallied 16 hits and eight RBI in 18 starts.

McIlwain is currently playing summer baseball with the Florence RedWolves in South Carolina, where he attended college in his freshman year before transferring to Cal in March 2017.

Spencer Golanka is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @sgolanka.