Michigan State starting quarterback Payton Thorne is back to lead the Spartans' offense in 2022, and he won't be flying under the radar like he did as a first-time starter a year ago.
Thorne had an outstanding season for MSU in 2021, breaking the school record for touchdown passes in a single season (27), and throwing for the third-most yards (3,240) in a single season in program history.
As a result of his success last year, Thorne was one of 35 returning quarterbacks to be named to the 2022 Davey O'Brien Award preseason watchlist. The award is given annually to the best quarterback in college football.
Other notable names included on the preseason watchlist are 2021 winner Bryce Young (Alabama) and fellow finalist C.J. Stroud (Ohio State). In addition to Thorne and Stroud, the Big Ten is represented on the watchlist by Penn State's Sean Clifford, Purdue's Aiden O'Connell and Maryland's Taulia Tagovailoa.
In addition to his 3,240 passing yards and 27 passing touchdowns, Thorne completed 60.4 percent of this throws (235-389), averaged 8.3 yards per attempts and finished with a QB rating of 77.7 last season. The junior threw 10 interceptions and was sacked 21 times in 2021.
Michigan State will kick off the 2022 campaign on Friday, Sept. 2 when they host Western Michigan.