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Film Look: Breaking Down OSU 2020 Recruit Shane Illingworth

A deep dive into the game of OSU’s next QB in waiting.



[Twitter: @shane_wayne0411]

Leading up to this football season, I broke down Oklahoma State’s 2019 recruiting class through several film studies. With the Texas Bowl as the only game left on the OSU schedule this year, I am going to start my analysis of the 2020 class. First up is the highest-rated player of the group, four-star quarterback Shane Illingworth.

The 6-6, 234-pound California product threw for 3,081 yards and 44 touchdowns while completing 65.2 percent of his passes (230 attempts) and only recording two interceptions during his final season at Norco High School. Illingworth and the Cougars were bounced in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, but they had a successful regular season racking up eight wins.

I was able to watch one game from his junior season against Rancho Cucamonga, a very good team which lost in the quarterfinals of the playoffs, as well as three games from this past season against Chaminade (playoff team, lost in finals), Martin Luther King and Rancho Verde (playoff team, lost in second round). All of the clips in this post will come from these four games.

Below, I’ll cover multiple key areas of quarterback play at the college level and analyze how Illingworth fares in each category.


At Norco, Illingworth primarily lined up out of the shotgun. The main formations the Cougars utilized consisted of four wide receivers with one running back in the backfield with Illingworth, or three wide, a running back and a fullback/tight end lined up as an H-back or in the backfield. To provide some context on the footwork a quarterback uses out of shotgun formations see the picture below is from Dub Maddox’s book, Adapt or Die: Advancements to Accelerate Execution in Football’s Modern Passing Game.


In the first clip, you’ll see Illingworth with the “POP” drop back.

Here you see another drop back where Illingworth sets himself up well with his footwork and delivers a nice ball.

Overall, he does well collecting himself on the last step of his drop and staying balanced into the throw. He stands tall and has a solid base, even when the defense brings pressure, which he saw a lot of against Rancho Verde.

As you’ll see below, he has great rhythm off play action and transfers smoothly into the throw.

As I mentioned above, he did see a lot of pressure in the Rancho Verde game, and even though his footwork looked solid for the majority, he did get slightly jumpy at times in the pocket before delivering the ball. However, I don’t have any concerns that he can improve upon this moving forward.

Throwing Mechanics

As I noted in the section above, Illingworth stands tall in the pocket, holds the ball in a good “triangle” position and has a quick, smooth release. The triangle position — meaning both hands on the ball, elbows level and the ball above his waist in his upper chest area — allows him to increase the speed and power of his release while protecting the football by keeping it in a secure position. See an example in the image below.


On his throws, Illingworth does a great job of not looping his arm around for the most part. Instead, he brings the ball straight back and then forward to optimize release time. This is what you want from a quarterback, and what you’ll see on Sundays from guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

He does still have that looping motion on some of his throws, which isn’t really a bad thing, it just takes away from the quickness of the release.


From watching Illingworth during his junior season, I think that this was one of the key areas he could improve upon. He had a habit of holding onto the ball too long, as opposed to throwing it away or taking off and running, which ended with him taking some bad sacks. However, you can tell he worked on it in the offseason. Below you’ll see him throw it away before taking a sack.

Overall, he is a solid decision maker and doesn’t force things that aren’t there, which is shown by his only two interceptions over the span of 230 attempts last season.

Pocket Presence

Illingworth has no issues standing tall in the pocket and delivering the ball on target, as shown below.

And he isn’t afraid to throw on the move when the pocket collapses, making absolutely incredible plays like this one.

Earlier I mentioned that during his junior season Illingworth had a tendency to stay in the pocket too long, but I didn’t see this as a big issue during his senior year. Not only does he do a good job of throwing the ball away or tucking it and running, but he does an excellent job of going through his progressions. He has no problem looking to his second and third reads if the primary route is covered, and will even hit the check down if nothing is open downfield, as you’ll see in the video below.

This is incredibly impressive for a high school quarterback, especially a guy like Illingworth who was playing with a four-star and three-star at the receivers spots. You would think those two would get all the looks, but in the two games I watched from his senior season where he played all four quarters (was taken out early again ML King), he completed passes to five or more different guys.

Accuracy and Velocity

The California product has high-level arm talent and can complete pretty much any throw on the field. He’s accurate on the deep ball, as you can see below.

As well as in the intermediate passing game, as he puts nice zip on the ball, sometimes maybe even throwing it a little too hard.

He does have a tendency to let some balls sail on him, and there were several occasions where the ball was a little wobbly out of his hand, but both of these things he can continue to improve upon as he begins his college career.


I wouldn’t consider the former Norco QB a “dual-threat,” clocking in with a 4.92 40-yard dash at The Opening Regional he attended. However, he did move pretty well outside the pocket and could pick up some yards with his feet when needed, as you’ll see an example of below.

They didn’t do it often in the games I watched, but Illingworth had his number called in the running game on occasion, as you can see the QB lead play below.

Overall, I’m extremely impressed with Illingworth and think he will fit into Sean Gleeson’s system perfectly. He has experience playing with tempo and his team at Norco ran some similar formations as to what we saw from the Cowboys this year. Additionally, he showed his toughness his senior year by playing a majority of the season with an injury. Oklahoma State fans should be very excited for the future with a guy like this coming to Stillwater.

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