Michigan State QB Payton Thorne entering the conversion gate

Michigan State QB Payton Thorne entering the conversion gate

After four years at Michigan State, Payton Thorne’s time at East Lansing appears to be over.

A team spokesperson confirmed that the record-setting quarterback entered the gate on Sunday as an alumni transfer. He has two seasons left.

Thorne ranks sixth in program history in completions (524) and passing yards (6,494) and fourth in touchdown passes (49) in 29 career games while going 16-10 as a starter.

At this point last year, Thorne was the only player on the roster with game experience, the starting mission had been closed but the outlook in the room had changed. He was inconsistent last season as the offense struggled. Coach Mel Tucker called it an open competition for the starting job before spring training began and said it will remain so toward fall camp.

“I like the way they compete,” Tucker said after his final spring training on April 15. “It’s a very healthy competition and the competition makes all of us better.”

During recent spring training at Michigan State, it appeared that Thorne still had the advantage with freshman Noah Kim and freshman Katyn Houser behind him.

Thorne is the third Michigan State player on the list to enter the gate during the second window, which began April 15 and ends Sunday, though alumni transfers can enter at any time. Hump ​​Faye, who arrived at Michigan State as a quarterback and transferred at the end of last season, and former defensive back AJ Kirk both entered the gate.

A former three-star prospect from Illinois, Thorne committed to Western Michigan before transferring to Michigan State shortly before signing for the 2019 class. He did not play while redshirt as a freshman and appeared in four games with one start the following season.

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After the transfer of freshman Rocky Lombardi, Thorn overtook the transfer of Temple alumnus Anthony Russo to start in 2021. He threw for 3,233 yards, and the single-season program recorded 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to help lead the Spartans to an 11-win season.

After losing All-American running back Kenneth Walker III to the NFL Draft, Michigan State’s offense struggled and Thorne’s production declined while playing through injuries as the Spartans finished 5-7. His completion percentage improved to 62.5 but he threw for fewer yards (2,679) and touchdowns (19) and threw one more interception (11) than the previous year.

Kim made the most of limited opportunities last season by completing 14 of 19 passes for 174 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in four games. A four-star prospect, Houser appeared in one game and retained his redshirt for the year. If Thorne moves overseas, these two are the only two quarterbacks on the roster returning from last season.

Sam Levitt, a four-star quarterback who signed with Michigan State’s 2023 recruiting class, is set to join the team in the summer.

Being in the portal does not mean that the player has to transfer and allow other schools to contact them. Running back/tight end Connor Heyward, linebackers Ben VanSomeren, and Maya Gout have all pulled their names out of the gate to stay with the Spartans in recent years.

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