Norco QB Shane Illingworth’s visit to Oklahoma State reinforces his commitment

Norco quarterback Shane Illingworth makes a throw during a seven-on-seven tournament in Mesquite, Nev., on Feb. 23.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Norco High quarterback Shane Illingworth committed to Oklahoma State last month — two weeks after the Cowboys offered him a scholarship. That commitment was solidified when Illingworth spent six days in Stillwater, Okla., last week.

“When you know, you know,” he said.

Illingworth traveled with his family to participate in an invite-only Oklahoma State camp early in the week and then stuck around to take his official visit with the school, a stay that lasted into the weekend. Illingworth was able to show his abilities at the camp and then enjoyed the pampered treatment an official visit generally elicits. It was a chance to get a better feel for the program, school and city as a whole.

“It was a little bit of everything,” Illingworth said. “It’s one thing to talk about the experience of being an Oklahoma State football player and another thing to do the experience.”


Participating in the camp, the 6-foot-6½, 234-pound slinger got to throw with skill players whom Oklahoma State is recruiting and who could become future teammates, such as Texas running back Myles Price, who committed to the Cowboys during the camp. Illingworth went through the drills of new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson, getting a feel for his coaching style. Illingworth also spent one-on-one time coach Mike Gundy.

“It was fun to just see how the coaching staff coaches you and tries to make you better and how they critique you. It was a fun experience for me,” Illingworth said of the camp that was highlighted by a night-time session in the school stadium. “The first time throwing under the lights in Boone Pickens Stadium was pretty fun. It was honestly a really good week.”

That included the official visit portion of the trip. Illingworth said he “loved every minute of it” as he interacted with the current Oklahoma State players and absorbed the atmosphere on and around the campus. Illingworth has family in Oklahoma, but the trip was as much an opportunity to see how he would fit into the community as with the football team. He and his parents traveled around Stillwater and explored some of the hot spots. The locals were friendly and welcoming, leaving a strong impression on the family.

The coaching staff left a similar impression with its vision for the Norco quarterback. Gundy’s teams have consistently produced stellar offenses. Illingworth is confident the addition of Gleeson, who was hired in January after his Princeton offense led the Football Championship Subdivision by scoring 47.0 points per game, will generate another dynamic quick-strike attack in the defense-averse Big 12 and put the four-star prospect in optimal positions.


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“I think what he’s doing really fits me and what I’m doing and what I bring to the table,” Illingworth said. “He gives the quarterback power to make his calls and will put me in the right situation to succeed. And coach Gundy is a legendary coach. It’s proven that his offense works and we’ll be a top-10 offense pretty much every year. That intrigued me a lot, and I love throwing the ball.”

Illingworth threw the ball 264 times last year, completing 167 passes for 2,739 yards and 29 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He throws the deep ball really well but also has the accuracy to hit targets between zone defenders. He knows when to fire the ball and when to take a little off to fit a throw in a window.

Illingworth plays in an offense he described as having spread principles with some Air Raid schemes while also incorporating the Cougars’ vaunted power runs. He thinks the incorporation of the different looks will help him transition quickly from high school to college.


“It’s honestly a very cool offense that coach [Chuck] Chastain set up,” Illingworth said. “He has prepared me pretty well, and he’s shown me things that colleges are doing. We almost have the same type of concepts. The verbal is different, but the concepts are the same.”