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Nevada lands ex-Oklahoma State quarterback, four-star recruit Shane Illingworth

Shane Illingworth started three games over two seasons at Oklahoma State. He transfers to Nevada with four years of eligibility. (Oklahoma State athletics)
Shane Illingworth started three games over two seasons at Oklahoma State. He transfers to Nevada with four years of eligibility. (Oklahoma State athletics)
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Nevada bolstered its quarterback room Wednesday with the addition of former Oklahoma State quarterback Shane Illingworth.

The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder was the Cowboys' backup the last two seasons, starting three games as a reserve, and is a former four-star recruit from Norco, Calif. Illingworth should rise near the top of the Wolf Pack depth chart when he lands in Reno.

Illingworth was the No. 164 overall recruit and No. 6-ranked pro passer in the 2020 class, picking Oklahoma State early in the recruiting process over offers from Arizona State, Arkansas, Arizona State, Colorado, Washington State, Louisville, Boston College and San Jose State.

Illingworth spent two seasons at Oklahoma State, playing as a true freshman in 2020 and as a redshirt freshman in 2021. In eight games, he completed 69-of-120 passes (57.5 percent) for 939 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions, posting a passer rating of 139.1. Illingworth started three games for the Cowboys, his best performance coming in 2020 when he completed 17-of-23 passes (73.9 percent) for 265 yards and three touchdowns in a 47-7 win over Kansas. Illingworth had one start last season, a 23-16 win over FCS school Missouri State. He completed 22-of-40 passes for 315 yards with a touchdown and interception. The Cowboys went 3-0 in games Illingworth started. He also rallied the team to a win over Tulsa coming off the bench in 2020.

Despite already playing two seasons of college, Illingworth has four years of eligibility remaining starting in 2022 due to 2020 not counting due to COVID-19 rules and Illingworth playing four games or fewer in 2021, which can be used as a redshirt season. As a first-time transfer, Illingworth is eligible to play for Nevada and first-year coach Ken Wilson immediately in 2022.

As a high school senior, Illingworth played 11 games for Norco High and completed 150-of-230 passes (65.2 percent) for 3,081 yards and 40 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He added 64 carries for 168 yards and four touchdowns, although Illingworth is more of a pocket passer than a dual-threat option. Illingworth had seven games with at least three touchdown passes as a prep senior, including a 567-yard, seven-touchdown game in a win over Vista Murrieta. During his junior season, Illingworth completed 167-of-264 passes for 2,739 yards and 20 touchdowns in 12 games. In three years of varsity football, he totaled 6,433 passing yards, 79 passing touchdowns and six rushing touchdowns.

While Nevada did not officially announce the addition of Illingworth during Wednesday's national signing day, the quarterback tweeted his commitment to the Wolf Pack.

"Can’t wait to get started on this new chapter of my life. #HomeIsNevada," Illingworth wrote.

Illingworth is expected to be one of five scholarship quarterbacks on Nevada's 2022 roster, joining Nate Cox, who backed up Carson Strong last season; Drew Scolari; Nate Barlage; and AJ Bianco, who signed with the Wolf Pack as part of the team's 2022 class. Cox started one game for Nevada last season, the Quick Lane Bowl, and has completed 27-of- 45 passes (60 percent) for 289 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in his two-year Wolf Pack career.

Illingworth and Cox, the only quarterbacks on Nevada's roster to attempt an FBS pass, are expected to be the two players battling for the starting job for the 2022 season, although Illingworth is enrolled at Oklahoma State this semester and won't be able to join Nevada until the summer. That leaves Cox as the first-string quarterback in next month's spring camp along with Scolari, Barlage and walk-on Jonah Chong expected to get reps.

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