**Story by Jeff Owens/Photo by Allen Sharpe**
South Carolina quarterback and two-sport athlete Brandon McIlwain has informed Gamecock coaches that he intends to transfer after this semester, the school announced Wednesday.
McIlwain, a 6-0, 190-pound quarterback from Newtown, Pa., started three games as a true freshman last year and played in five others. He lost the starting job, however, when Jake Bentley, another true freshman, took over in the seventh game of the season. Bentley led South Carolina to wins in four of its last seven games and entered spring practice as the No. 1 quarterback.
A top recruit in baseball, McIlwain has also gotten little playing time on the diamond. He had just 10 at-bats last year while splitting his time between baseball and spring football practice. He has appeared in just one game this year as a pinch runner.
“Brandon came by today and spoke to me about transferring from the University of South Carolina,” head football coach Will Muschamp said. “I support his decision and wish him all the best.”
“Brandon has all the skills to be a terrific baseball player,” head baseball coach Chad Holbrook said. “I have no doubt as he devotes more time to the sport, he can do great things. We have enjoyed him immensely and we wish him well as his career moves forward.”
McIlwain explained his decision on Twitter Wednesday evening.
"After much thought and prayer, I have decided to transfer from the University of South Carolina," he said. "This is one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make, but I know it's right and God has a plan. Wearing Garnet and Black has been an honor and a privilege for me. I will cherish the time I spent at USC and I thank all the people in Columbia and the Gamecock Nation who have shown me love and support, but at this point it is time to make a change."
Muschamp said last week that McIlwain would play the full baseball season this spring, but that he had been attending football meetings and that his class schedule would allow him to participate in both throughout the spring. He got reps at quarterback in the team's first football practices this week.
“He is battling to be the starter," Muschamp said. "He’s been involved in all of our meetings, all of the mental reps. Again, in the recruiting process, with Brandon and his parents, he was going to play baseball full-time after his first full spring. That’s where we are.”
McIlwain completed 62-of-118 passes (52.5 percent) for 600 yards and two touchdowns last year and rushed 63 times for 127 yards and a pair of scores. He was expected to be a first-round pick in last year's Major League Baseball draft before deciding to sign with South Carolina to play both sports.