After playing things close to the vest for nearly the entirety of his recruitment, 2016 quarterback Brandon McIlwain has released a top six. The Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North star said that, in no order, his top six is Auburn, Duke, Florida, Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
McIlwain visited all six of these schools and many others during the summer. He explained why each of the six remain in contention.
Auburn- "With them, it's coach Lashlee," said the 6-foot, 205-pound McIlwain. "I've developed a great relationship with him. I love talking to him. My school runs the same offense that Auburn does. I could directly see myself fitting into that offense. They also have an amazing campus. They've put a lot of new things over the past few years. They have a lot of great faculties and it's a beautiful place. I could see myself playing there and fitting in well."
Duke- "Coach Montgomery and coach Cutcliffe they both have done some great things as coaches," he said. "Coach Cutcliffe working with both of the Mannings. Coach Montgomery has been in college and in the NFL working with a bunch of great players. You also can't beat the academics there. In terms of location, it's not too far. It's close enough for my parents to come see my games. I also got a good feel there. It was a fun camp. They took us through a practice and I liked how it was structured."
Florida- "They have a great coaching staff there with coach Muschamp and coach Roper," McIlwain said. "This is going to be coach Ropers first year there. Just from meeting with him and talking with him I know he has a great quarterback mind. I don't have any worries about them turning things around from last year. He seems like a really good developer of quarterbacks. I've been talking to him since he was at Duke last year."
Penn State- "Where ever you go your going to have to compete," he said. "There are great quarterbacks at every school. They have been having some great success everywhere. They've been getting some great recruits and have a top five recruiting class for 2015 and a really good class already in 2016. Coach Franklin is doing some great things over there and I have a great relationship with him and all the coaches over there. I've been up there a number of times and it's in state so it's in a great location so my parents can get there very easily. With some of the things they're bringing over from Vanderbilt, I could see myself working well in that offense."
South Carolina- "I've been talking to coach Mangus and the coaches over there since my freshman year," said McIlwain. "I've developed a really good relationship with them. It's a place where I have family. My grandmother lives there. I have a great feel for the place. Coach Mangus has been truthful with me the whole time. I just get a really good feel for them."
Virginia Tech- "I have a great relationship with coach Loeffler," he said. "I've been talking to him for a decent amount of time. I had a really good visit when I went down there. I love the things that he teaches and he's a great developer of quarterbacks and I could see myself playing for him. I really liked him and I liked the campus as well."
What's the next step for McIlwain?
"At this point I'm scheduling visits for games for all six of the schools," McIlwain said. "I think that will be really good to see the atmosphere, hang out with some of the players, pick their minds and see what their thoughts are on the school and how much they like it.
"After I visit a game at all the schools, some time between the beginning of December and the spring I want to make some sort of commitment," he said. "I don't have a specific date because I do want to make sure I make the right decision and not rushing anything."
There isn't much room for other schools to jump into the mix.
"I'm still going to keep in contact with some other coaches but I'm really going to focus in on these six," said McIlwain. "At this point it's still so early but right now I'm going to stay loyal to the six schools I cut it down to."
As a sophomore, McIlwain completed more than 55 percent of his passes for about 1,500 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also ran for almost 600 yards.