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247Sports' preseason SEC quarterback rankings drop Payton Thorne near bottom of the league

Thorne is near the bottom of 247Sports' preseason SEC quarterback rankings.
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The Tigers have pulled their projected starting quarterback out of the transfer portal.

Alongside 19 other valuable additions Hugh Freeze and his staff landed.

Payton Thorne, former Michigan State quarterback turned Auburn Tiger, is projected by a variety of outlets to be the Tigers' starting quarterback week one vs UMass despite not having taken a single rep in practice. Statistically, he's better than what the Tigers had coming back - Robby Ashford and Holden Geriner.

Brad Crawford of 247Sports recently released his preseason SEC football quarterback rankings for 2023, dropping Thorne down at No. 11 on the list.

Here's what Crawford had to say about Thorne:

"Taking a shot here by paying a good deal of respect to Hugh Freeze, who plucked Michigan State's expected starter after spring to lead the Tigers. There's no guarantee Payton Thorne starts over Robby Ashford, but intel suggests Auburn would not have been portal-shopping so heavy at quarterback this spring had Freeze felt comfortable with the incumbent. Freeze and OC Philip Montgomery will work together when camp opens to determine which option can carry out the offense with poise and precision. Thorne is the more experienced player and likely gets the QB1 reps. The good news for Auburn ahead of Freeze's first season is the Tigers have refaced their offensive line and pass-catching positions to ease in this transition."

Thorne finished an accomplished quarterback at Michigan State, setting single-season records for total yards, total touchdowns and passing touchdowns. He ranks fifth in career total touchdowns, fifth in career total yards, fourth in career passing touchdowns and third in single-season passing yards.

He's not a dazzling arm talent but was excellent attacking downfield in his two seasons with the Spartans. He's a great system fit for Freeze and Montgomery.

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