One to Watch: 2016 QB Brandon McIlwain of Newton, Pennsylvania

By Jeremy Birmingham on March 28, 2014 at 1:00p

At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Brandon McIlwain is not be the prototypical, pro-style quarterback that usually racks up early offers from the nation's elite college programs.


One look at his impressive highlight tape and it doesn't take long to see why he's eschewing the standard definition of the position, however. 

"I think Russell Wilson," McIlwain said when asked who he'd compare his style to.  "Because I pass first and can use my feet when needed." 

Looks like Braxton kind of, huh?
McIlwain is one of the country's top '16 quarterbacks

Aside from the obvious similarities in stature to the Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl-winning signal caller, McIlwain's howitzer of a right arm also bears a striking resemblance to Wilson. His agility and fleetness of foot aside, this is a quarterback playing quarterback, not just an athlete thrust into the position because he's the "best player on the team." Now, with scholarship offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, Auburn, Cal, Florida, and a host of others, the Council Rock North (Newton, Pa.) quarterback has the unenviable task of trying to separate the the cream of the crop from the litany of schools interested in his services.

"I never knew (all this attention) would happen, it still is all surreal to me," he said of his recent burst of offers. "I've got to visit a lot of the schools with my family this summer and we'll start to see what we think of them."

One of the schools on McIlwain's list to visit this summer, as noted, is Ohio State. The Buckeyes offered the Pennsylvania two-sport star (he also plays baseball) in late February and have been in regular contact since.

"I talk to (Buckeyes' offensive line Ed) Warinner every week or two," he said of the developing relationship with Ohio State. "I like their offense a lot, it's dynamic. (They) utilize a dual-threat quarterback very well."

McIlwain is aware the Buckeyes have already received a verbal pledge from a 2017 quarterback (Massillon's Danny Clark) but he says that's not a concern of his and it won't negatively impact Ohio State's chances to impress him.

"Whatever program I go to they will have great quarterbacks from 2015 and 2017," McIlwain said. "It's all competition and I think that brings out the best in everyone."



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SilverState's picture

Reminds me of Troy S. and a little J. Manziel. Liking it.

-1 HS
Jeremypreemo81's picture

As a 49er fan I do not like R Wilson as the Seahawks QB...but that doesnt take away from the fact I recognize Wilson is good.

This kid right here reminds me a lot of Wilson, throw first run second.  He is a QB that happens to be a outstanding athlete-at least it appears that way.  Heck of an arm, seems to make the right plays and has a set of serious wheels when he uses them.   And he is a sophomore, thats impressive

Seattle Linga's picture

As a Seahawks fan I do not like Colin Kaepernick..................... It's all good brother - just having fun but this kid looks like the real deal.

buckeyeswift's picture

As a Rams fan I don't like either of them playing for their respective teams. However Russel Wilson is a good dude.

"We're from O-HI-O"

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Nice - I personally believe it's the toughest division in the NFL. Is Bradford coming back 100% healthy?

HilltopHustle's picture

To his point on competition, this is the double-edged sword if going head-to-head vs. PSU for QB's:

1. Wimbush goes to Penn State (seems likely), McIlwain has a real chance to look around and leaves Pennsylvania. We especially might land him if we have to "settle" for a QB in this class.

2. Wimbush manages to land here, McIlwain becomes PSU's top priority for QB in 2016 (they're recruiting nobody but Wimbush for this class it seems).

+3 HS
johnny11's picture

I really like this kids skill set. His arm is real nice. I really like how he continues to look down the field even when scrambling. If I had to choose between him and Wimbush as far as a qb I take him to be honest. One Wimbush has some funky mechanics. Two Wimbush is not as athletic as this kid. Three this kids arm and ability to make a play is better. Four this kid has more starting experience than Wimbush and he is a class below Wimbush. If we have to pass on Wimbush this year to get a better chance of stealing this kid out of PA in the next class I'm all for it.

Squirrel Master's picture

I like it but I also want to know who that speedy #11 is too. Kid was all over the place and obviously a weapon for Brandon!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
bodast67's picture

Good observation SQuirrel, I thought the same thing while watching the tape...




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

BuckeyeJ's picture

He would be a great get! Cause I feel that the wimbush, Gibson boats have sailed (unless they get on campus). As I have said, I like Stevens. Take Stevens and get this young man!!!

+1 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

Hopefully this kid is a stud since Pa seems to be the cradle of QBs.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

+3 HS
bodast67's picture

@2:11 into the film looks just like Troy Smith to Gonzalez in the Michigoon game....




     " I hope when I die, I die laughing"...                

+1 HS
osuisnumber1's picture

Kid has a great attitude!

bleedscarlet's picture

Now THAT'S a quarterback, as opposed to WR playing QB.

Slingin' swag since 1970


+2 HS
tussey's picture

Wow.  I was pretty impressed by his film.  One of the things that stood out the most was his knack to move within the pocket and find an open man down field.  The kid has a cannon for an arm and has the ability to throw a touch pass.  I was also impressed with him as a runner.  Once he decided to take off and run, he was gone.  From the tape it appears he has excellent acceleration and top end speed.  

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Sees the field very well

WhySoSerious's picture

Cannon, what's up with # 11 though. Beast. That's are championship qb right there. 


Like the ball in the stands, we balls out

GOOMBAY's picture

Vision. Accuracy. Poise. Extends plays with his feet. Yes, please.

Nashville Buckeye's picture

Quite impressive tape.  I can see why he's gotten the early offers.  This is the type of kid that I think the Buckeyes need to get over the hump.  A QB with running ability, instead of RB with throwing ability. I loved TP and I love Braxton, but I always had/have a feeling of uncertainty when they drop back to throw.

I would love to get an actual QB in the game, and see what he could do.  I know Urban likes the athletes and wants to transform them into quarterbacks, but just once I would like to see him get an actual quarterback and see where that could take us.

ogama843's picture

This me watching his highlights. Sharp, smart, and even willing to block downfield!


Holy Buckeye!

Ericgobucks's picture

He looks very young. I can't believe he's 6'1" and 205 lbs. 

osubuckeye4life's picture

I definitely see the Wilson comparisons. The highlight tape is very impressive!