Illinois Adds to Staff

Record-Setting QB Takes over as Assistant Director of Football Operations; Patrick Embleton Named Director of Football Student-Athlete Development

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman announced Tuesday that former Fighting Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase and former graduate assistant Patrick Embleton are joining his staff. Scheelhaase, a four-year starting quarterback at Illinois and the program’s all-time total offense leader, will be assistant director of football operations. Embleton will serve as director of football student-athlete development. They fill the vacancies left by Juice Williams and Ryan Cubit.

“We are extremely excited to add both Nathan and Patrick to the Fighting Illini football family,” Beckman said. “Obviously, Nathan’s play on the field and his role as a leader for four years speaks for it self. His relationships with coaches, alumni and current and former players will be huge in continuing to move this program forward. He left a positive mark on the entire Fighting Illini athletics family during his playing career and he certainly will continue to do that now as a member of our staff. Nathan truly bleeds orange and blue. Patrick has spent the last two years on staff as a graduate assistant and has been instrumental in recruiting, alumni relations and several other areas of the program. We’re excited for him to take on an even bigger role for the Fighting Illini.”

Scheelhaase Named Assistant Director of Football Operations As assistant director of football operations, Scheelhaase will assist in managing internal operations of the Fighting Illini football program, including team logistics, on-campus recruiting, student-athlete development, housing, nutrition and direct management of alumni and former player relations.

"I am honored to be working for the university I call home,” Scheelhaase said of returning to his alma mater. “The memories I made as a player were special, and I can't wait to be a part of creating more memories for the players and fans. As the Assistant Director of Football Operations I am excited about supporting the coaching staff and players in every way possible. I am confident that my experience as a student-athlete and as a leader both domestically and internationally will be a valuable source in helping the football program achieve greater success. I can't wait to get to home and get to work!"

As a player from 2010-13, Scheelhaase finished his career as the Illini's all-time total offense leader with 10,634 yards, a total that ranks seventh in Big Ten history. In 2013 he had one of the best offensive seasons in Illinois football history, leading the conference in passing yardage (272.7 ypg), total offense (295.2 ypg) and completion percentage (66.7) during his senior campaign, while also breaking the school record for passing efficiency (140.7) to earn All-Big Ten honors.

A four-year starter and two-time team captain, Scheelhaase is the only quarterback in UI history to lead the Illini to bowl victories in back-to-back seasons and is one of just two players in Big Ten history to amass over 8,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career. He finished among the Illinois career leaders in almost every quarterback category, ranking first in starts (48), second in completion percentage (63.0), completions (775) and rushing yards by a QB (2,066), and third in passing yardage (8,568), touchdown passes (55) and passing efficiency (130.2).

Off the field, Scheelhaase was an unquestioned leader during his five years on campus. He earned the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2014, was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and earned two degrees from the University of Illinois - a bachelor's degree in communication (2012) and a master's in sports management (2014). He was a Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representative, vice president of the UI Uplifting Athletes chapter, was very active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and regularly took part in "Hometown Heroes" activities throughout his career, including countless visits to visits local schools, hospitals and correctional centers. After college, Scheelhaase spent 2014-15 as a high school pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Embleton Named Director of Football Student-Athlete Development

As director of football student-athlete development, Embleton will oversee all on-campus activities of student-athletes in the Illinois football program. He will manage and coordinate all on-campus admissions for incoming freshmen and transfers, perform preliminary transcript evaluations for those prospective student-athletes and manage all official and unofficial visits for football recruits. He will serve as football admissions coordinator and work closely with the academics staff in that pursuit, and also will work closely with compliance staff regarding the recruitability of prospective student-athletes.

Embleton has spent the last two seasons on the Fighting Illini staff as a player personnel/football operations graduate assistant. In that role he has assisted with on-campus recruiting including scheduling visits and itineraries, scheduling meetings with academic professors and arranging campus tours. He also coordinated recruiting travel for coaches and served as the program’s liaison for NFL scouts. During his time as a graduate assistant, Embleton helped the Fighting Illini bring in the No. 6 recruiting class in the Big Ten in 2014.

“I am very honored and blessed to be a part of such an unbelievable program and university,” Embleton said. “Over the past two seasons, I’ve seen just how close this family-oriented program is and can't wait to continue working with this staff to move the Illinois program, with all its tradition and history, forward.”

Prior to coming to Illinois, Embleton was the wide receivers coach and assistant academic coordinator at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Health and Human Kinetics from Ohio Wesleyan in 2012 and was a four-year starter at tight end for the Battling Bishops from 2008-11, earning All-NCAC honors and serving as team captain in 2011.

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