Former Michigan State QB Payton Thorne Transfers to Auburn

Payton Thorne, a two-year starter who holds the Michigan State single-season passing touchdown record, has transferred to Auburn Tigers.

After entering the transfer portal as the spring window deadline neared, former Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne has committed to Auburn After starting the past two seasons in East Lansing, Thorne will challenge the entire revamped QB room at Auburn to start the season under center for the Tigers.

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Payton Thorne Transfers to Auburn

After being linked with Auburn immediately upon entering the portal and with a natural connection to Western Michigan, where his father is the offensive coordinator, Thorne choose to take his talents to Auburn ahead of the 2023 college football season. A graduate transfer, he has one year of eligibility remaining.

Thorne was one of the top quarterback options in the college football transfer window following the spring season. Although he is coming off a difficult year for Michigan State and was embroiled in a QB battle with Noah Kim and Katin Houser, he is just one year removed from a record-setting season for the Spartans.

In 2021, Thorne threw for 27 touchdowns, surpassing Kirk Cousins as the program’s single-season passing touchdown record holder. Additionally, he helped the Spartans achieve a top-10 national ranking while putting together a season that ranked amongst the top-10 in program history across several metrics.

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Thorne arrived in East Lansing in 2019 as the top-ranked quarterback in the state of Illinois. He set school records for completions, yards, and touchdowns in just two years at Naperville Central High School before making the move to Michigan State, where he redshirted his freshman season.

From earning his first start against Penn State in 2020 to his final snaps against the Nittany Lions in the 2022 season finale, Thorne has established himself as one of the top QBs in the Big Ten.

In his 2023 B1G QB rankings — written before Thorne’s Michigan State departure — College Football Network Executive Editor Cam Mellor ranked him as the fourth-best passer in the Big Ten. Mellor described the new Auburn quarterback as “a safe, secure, trustworthy passer who can make smart reads and get the ball out of his hands quickly.”

Thorne Quick Facts:

  • Class: Redshirt senior 
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 210
  • Hometown: Naperville, Illinois 
  • Career passing yards: 6,493
  • Career passing touchdowns: 49
  • Career pass completion percentage: 61.0%
  • Career interceptions: 24
  • Career rushing yards: 270
  • Career rushing touchdowns: 6
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