Mel Tucker spoke to the media on Monday and the Michigan State football coach had nothing but praise for his starting quarterback.
There are two vastly different quarterback situations developing in the state of Michigan this fall. At Michigan, the Wolverines are trying to figure out who the starter is by giving each of their top two guys a start in the first two games of the year. For Michigan State football, Payton Thorne is the unquestioned starter and the only battle there is for the backup job.
Thorne proved himself worthy of being that unquestioned QB1 last year by throwing a record-breaking 27 touchdown passes. He also had the third-best yardage season as a Spartan quarterback, throwing for over 3,200.
Somehow Thorne doesn’t get a ton of respect on a national level and many believe it’s because Kenneth Walker III helped take a lot of pressure off his shoulders.
But I don’t think that’s the whole story. He is a really good quarterback who has shown the ability to complete just about every tough throw and his run game only ranked in the 50s last year. Michigan State’s offense was solid, but the run game was middle-of-the-pack and was only in the 50s because of Walker.
Mel Tucker has been singing Thorne’s praises all preseason long and has spoken a lot about his growing sense of leadership.
On Monday, he said that his leadership has been his biggest area of progress this offseason, according to Stephen Brooks of 247Sports.
"“Really leadership. Not just leading by example, but being more vocal with his teammates, not just on the offense but the defense as well. He’s really grown in that regard. I’m really proud of him.”"
It’s good to hear that the starting quarterback isn’t just a solid passer and MSU record-breaker, but also a heck of a leader. He was quiet in 2020 and showed he could be a little more vocal last season but it feels like he could take a Kirk Cousins-esque leadership route in 2022.