Former Michigan State QB Payton Thorne Moved To Auburn: Where He Fits In The Tigers’ QB Room

Former Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne will play for the Auburn Tigers this season, he announced on Twitter on Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Thorne entered the transfer portal with MSU wide receiver Keon Coleman on April 30.
  • He threw for 2,679 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last season, his second as a Spartans starter.
  • Thorne is likely to be the favorite to start for Auburn under freshman coach Hugh Freeze.

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Why leave MSU now?

Thorne entered the transfer portal earlier this week and left Michigan State amid reports that fourth-year junior Noah Kim had finished the spring as a favorite to be the Spartans’ starter this fall. Thorne, a two-year starter for Tucker at Michigan State, saw his production drop last season after finishing 2021 with 27 touchdowns, 10 picks and 3,232 yards.

Thorne’s yards per attempt fell from 8.3 to 6.9, but Freeze is known for his work with quarterbacks, helping turn Auburn’s transfer of Malik Willis into a first-round pick at Liberty and helping the Former Clemson quarterback and juco to trade Chad Kelly bloom into a first-team All-SEC talent and draft pick. Thorne brings the experience and production that Auburn’s quarterback room lacks and there’s potential for a fruitful marriage between the two in season one of Freeze on The Plains. — Ubben

How Thorne fits into Auburn’s QB room

TJ Finley entered the transfer portal earlier this week, leaving Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner as Freeze’s two best options.

Freeze has been shopping for a new quarterback in the transfer portal since late spring. Thorne had his critics at Michigan State, but he’s far more experienced and accomplished than Ashford or Geriner. Ashford threw for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions and averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt last season in his first action as a college quarterback. He rushed for 710 yards and seven scores and is a better fit for Freeze’s system than Thorne, who is a more traditional passer, but Thorne helped lead the Spartans to the Peach Bowl and an 11-win season in 2021 with a first-year coach. . — Ubben

What Thorne’s transfer means for MSU

Thorne was in a quarterback battle all spring with Kim and Katin Houser.

That likely opens the door for Kim, who has played in four games in 2022 — including against Ohio State — and passed 14 of 19 for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He was a three-star pro-style quarterback prospect in the Class of 2020 and ranked in the top 25 in Virginia State. —Bardahl


Here’s Finally Payton Thorne’s Michigan State Team: ‘He’s a Leader’

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(Photo: Dale Young/USA Today)

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