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Two Spartans Named To Preseason Watchlist For The Maxwell Award

They are the unquestioned leaders of MSU's offense...

Michigan State's offense will feature two players that have garnered preseason recognition for one of the most prestigious awards in college football.

On Monday, quarterback Payton Thorne and wide receiver Jayden Reed were both named to the preseason watchlist for the Maxwell Award, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football.

Former high school teammates, Thorne and Reed were a potent combination for the Spartan offense in 2021. With 1,026 receiving yards, Reed was responsible for nearly one-third of Thorne's 3,240 total passing yards a season ago. The senior wide receiver also caught 10 of Thorne's school-record 27 touchdown passes in 2021.

When Michigan State needed to make a play through the air on a critical down, Thorne threw in Reed's direction more often than not, and the two are expected to have another excellent season in 2022.

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With the departure of star tailback Kenneth Walker III — who last season won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back and the Walter Camp Award as college football's "Player of the Year" — the Spartans may need to rely more on their passing attack in 2022. With Thorne at quarterback, and his favorite target in Reed back at receiver, MSU has a foundation to build its offense around.

Michigan State kicks off its season on Friday, Sept. 2 when the Spartans host Western Michigan.