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Michigan State quarterbacks: One thing I like, one thing I don't

A closer look at the most important position on the field...

Michigan State football is just a few days away from the start of summer conditioning, and we are inside of 100 days from the start of the 2022 season.

As excitement starts to build for Year 3 of the Mel Tucker era in East Lansing, Spartan Nation will be taking closer looks at every position group on the Spartans' depth chart and pointing out one thing we like, one thing we don't and something to keep an eye on.

We start with the most important position on the field: Quarterback

One Thing I Like

This one is pretty easy — Michigan State returns starting quarterback Payton Thorne, who set a school record for touchdown passes with 27 in 2021, and also threw for the third-most single-season yards in school history (3,240) last year. Entering his second season running offensive coordinator Jay Johnson's offense, there's reason to believe that Thorne will be even better in 2022.

Beyond the obvious above, I also like Michigan State's depth at quarterback. Redshirt sophomore Noah Kim looked really sharp during spring practice, redshirt freshman Hamp Fay has physical tools that can't be taught and true freshman Katin Houser enters the program with a lot of hype. There's a lot to like below Thorne on the depth chart.

One Thing I Don't

As much as I like the depth behind Thorne, none of those guys (Kim, Fay, Houser) have taken a meaningful snap at the collegiate level. As I mentioned above, I was impressed with the way that Kim looked in spring practice, but looking good in practice is one thing, being good against live competition is another.

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Michigan State was fortunate enough to have Thorne healthy throughout the 2021 season, but more often than not teams will need a backup quarterback to come in and win a game, or at least finish off a win in a close game. Of the same token, the Spartans weren't in many blowouts last season either, so guys like Kim and Fay didn't get many snaps period, much less meaningful snaps.

None of this is to say that I don't believe in these guys. I think MSU's quarterback room is in really good shape. But until we see one or a couple of these guys get snaps against live competition it's hard to feel totally comfortable.

One Thing To Keep An Eye On

As I've stated a couple times already, I like Michigan State's quarterback room. The problem is that it is very difficult to maintain that in the modern age of college football.

Thorne is a redshirt junior. If he has a great year, he could elect to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. But he also will still have another year of eligibility remaining. If Thorne is here for the 2023 season, do guys like Kim or Fay get restless and look for another program where they can get on the field as a starter?

Conversely, if Houser lives up to the hype that he's been given since committing to the Spartans, it's likely that he will pass Fay and/or Kim on the depth chart. Getting jumped on the depth chart by a younger player almost always results in an older player transferring, especially at quarterback.

Now, this is a good problem to have if you're Tucker and Johnson. It's much better to have such good competition at a position that a guy or two has to transfer, than have a situation where you have one good player with no depth. I'm very interested to see how things shake out over the next calendar year in Michigan State's quarterback room.

Twitter: @mlounsberry_SI