Former Michigan State QB Rocky Lombardi announces transfer to Northern Illinois

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Former Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi has found a new home.

Lombardi, who entered the NCAA transfer portal on Dec. 18 after starting six of Michigan State’s seven games in 2020, announced Sunday on Twitter that he has committed to Northern Illinois.

“There are so many people I would like to thank for their help and support throughout my recruiting process. But without further delay, I would like to announce my commitment to NIU!” Lombardi posted.

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Lombardi had a heck of a start to the season, throwing for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in each of the first two games, including the upset victory over Michigan. However, he struggled with interceptions, and by the time he was knocked out of the Ohio State game in the second quarter with an injury, he had thrown nine interceptions against just eight touchdowns.

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In six games, Lombardi was 84-for-157 for 1,090 yards with a completion percentage of just 53.5%. He was replaced in the Ohio State game by redshirt freshman Payton Thorne, who started the next week at Penn State and was slated to start the final game at Maryland before that game was canceled because of COVID-19 issues at Maryland.

It led to an uncertain future at Michigan State for Lombardi, a future that was cemented when Temple graduate transfer quarterback Anthony Russo announced he had committed to the Spartans.

Lombardi appeared in 17 career games, starting three as a redshirt freshman in 2018 before his six starts this year. He ended his Michigan State career 159-for-332 for 1,902 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau