Though he was a celebrated transfer addition when he was added to the Auburn football roster, Payton Thorne ended up on the Plains, objectively, because things weren’t working out perfectly in East Lansing with Mel Tucker and the Michigan State Spartans.
JC Nevils of Mike Farrell Sports pointed out that “things fell apart” for Thorne — which included a 5-7 record for MSU in 2022 and a step back in nearly every imaginable statistic besides completion percentage — in the latest “Three and Out” column.
“Coming off a season where he threw for 3,233 yds, and 27tds, which set the single-season record, while also leading Michigan State to a Peach Bowl win, much was expected from Payton in 2022,” Nevils prefaced before saying, “Things fell apart of course, but new scenery and a new coach in Hugh Freeze at Auburn should do him well.”
Payton Thorne may not get a chance for a bounce-back with Auburn football
With Las Vegas’ QB1 odds being in Robby Ashford’s favor at the start of the last week of July, it appears that Thorne may have been brought in more to increase the competition in the quarterback room than he was to save the program as a fifth-year graduate transfer. Of course, the odds flipped right back to Thorne with massive public betting action on the Naperville, Illinois product, and the A-Day showing from AU’s offense was the impetus for Hugh Freeze going hard after a QB in the portal.
Still, it’s hard not to wonder if Ashford’s attitude embracing the competition has brought out the best in the Hoover product that can force him onto the first team, and in turn, has made Thorne a veteran break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option under center in case No. 9 struggles.
If that’s the case, and the Tigers are winning football games, it’s hard to imagine who would actually mind.