The looming Michigan State football quarterback battle will be fierce. However, it seems as if freshman Payton Thorne has a leg up already.
Coaches do not typically compliment freshman. Head coach Mark Dantonio loves his senior players and is loyal to them. However, they have made it known that they love what they see in Payton Thorne — Dantonio went as far as to say he reminded him of Kirk Cousins.
That is strong praise for a freshman.
In 2018, he threw for over 3,000 yards for Naperville Central in Illinois and had 40 touchdowns. He’s a winner. Like Cousins, he only had a MAC offer. He is one of those players that Dantonio was known for getting early on in his career at MSU.
Michigan State football has redshirt freshman Theo Day and sophomore Rocky Lombardi ahead of Thorne according to the final depth chart of 2019 but the last time the former was on the field against Penn State, Dantonio immediately yanked him after a mistake.
Chris Solari alluded to a possible position change to linebacker for Lombardi on the Green and White Podcast. Is it anything? Maybe, maybe not.
However, the Spartan coaching staff loves Thorne and they have said the same about graduating senior Brian Lewerke and Cousins.
On top of that, Thorne already has plenty of familiarity with the Spartans’ potential No. 1 receiver Jayden Reed who he was high school teammates with before he went to Western Michigan and became a Freshman All-American. That should help plenty in this situation.
Thorne is in an elite group. Dantonio is known for long drawn-out quarterback battles and I suspect this one will be no different. But I do believe Thorne will be the one standing when the dust settles.