What is Auburn getting in transfer quarterback Payton Thorne?
It is no secret that Auburn football has had plenty of success with finding new talent within the transfer portal.
From offensive linemen to skill players, Auburn has revamped its’ roster ahead of the 2023 season. One of the biggest names to sign with the Tigers is former Michigan State quarterback, Payton Thorne.
Thorne had three successful seasons in East Lansing by throwing for 6,494 yards and 49 touchdowns while completing 60% of his passes. He is also known for being a runner despite just rushing for 270 yards and six scores in that frame.
RELATED: The best games of Payton Thorne’s career at Michigan State
Outside of numbers, what else is Auburn getting in Thorne? To help us dig deep into the topic, we called upon Spartans Wire editor Andrew Brewster to help. Brewster covered all three seasons of Thorne’s stay at Michigan State and provides important analysis that helps us truly understand what Thorne brings to the quarterback battle.
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What was the initial reaction of State fans to Thorne’s plan to enter the transfer portal?
I think there were a few different simultaneous reactions. First, it never feels good when a player goes to the portal, no matter what it always stings. But I think for MSU, there was some relief, because there were murmurs that MSU’s backup QBs were playing better in practice and Thorne was losing the locker room a little. Michigan State probably won’t be competing for a playoff berth this year, so having a veteran like Thorne helming the ship doesn’t make as much sense for this team, where the future should be much brighter than the present, I think MSU fans are happy that Thorne found a premier landing spot like Auburn where he can shine, and the Spartans can look to the future with Noah Kim or Katin Houser.
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What skill set does Thorne bring to Auburn?
He is more mobile than you’d think. Last year, he got injured in the season opener and didn’t get to use his legs, but that might be his greatest strength. He has a nice arm too and can hit the deep ball. He’s a very solid college quarterback who might even find a nice career as an NFL backup.
Looking for a fresh start
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What were some of his weaknesses as QB of Michigan State?
Last year just didn’t go as planned. He started making more mistakes, and couldn’t keep the defense on their toes with his legs like he did the year before, and I think he missed a lot of open guys without being able to extend plays on the ground and keep the pressure off.
Creating more chances
Lansing State Journal
There’s conflicting speculation surrounding the relationship between Thorne and former State WR Keon Coleman. What was their relationship like from your perspective?
People have said that Coleman partially wanted to leave because other schools negatively recruited him based on Thorne not being good enough to get him drafted in the first two rounds. Jayden Reed just disproved that theory, but I do think Thorne could have targeted Coleman more last year. You could see Keon get frustrated a few times when Thorne didn’t get him the chance in single coverage to make a play, something Keon can do as well as anyone.
Leaving a legacy
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What were some of his most memorable moments as a Spartan?
The 2021 season was extremely special for Thorne. Beating Michigan that year has to be the big one, it was a very special day for the Spartans.