MSU QB Payton Thorne on arrival of Temple transfer Anthony Russo: 'Competition brings out the best'
There’s a quarterback competition in East Lansing this spring. Payton Thorne and Temple transfer Anthony Russo will be battling for the top spot on the depth chart throughout the spring and into fall camp.
After Michigan State’s struggles at the position over the last few seasons, the Spartans could benefit from having multiple options heading into the 2021 season. And Thorne believes the ongoing competition with Russo is only making the room better.
“I think that competition brings out the best in a lot of guys,” Thorne said, per Colton Pouncy of The Athletic. “You just gotta put your head down and work and I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing lately.”
MSU QB Payton Thorne on the arrival of Anthony Russo and how he's approaching the QB battle:
"I think that competition brings out the best in a lot of guys. …You just gotta put your head down and work and I feel like that's what I've been doing lately."
— Colton Pouncy (@colton_pouncy) April 6, 2021
Thorne was the favorite to win the job after previous starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal. But the addition of Russo adds plenty of interest to the battle in East Lansing.
Last season, Thorne played in four games for the Spartans, seeing most of the action in the final two games of the year against Ohio State and Penn State, both losses for MSU. He totaled 582 yards through the air and had 3 touchdown passes with 3 interceptions.
There’s plenty of room for improvement for Thorne, who was just a freshman during the 2020 season.
Russo was a multi-year starter at Temple and brings a ton of experience under center with him to East Lansing. He threw for over 6,000 yards and 44 touchdowns during his time with the Owls and will have one season of eligibility remaining with the Spartans.
This is going to be one quarterback battle to watch in the B1G over the next few months.