Michigan State's Payton Thorne named to watch list for Davey O'Brien Award
East Lansing — Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne was named to the Davey O’Brien Award preseason watch list on Tuesday.
The award is handed out annually to the top quarterback in college football and it comes a day after the redshirt junior was named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award, given each season to the top player in college football.
Thorne was among 35 players listed along with four other Big Ten quarterbacks — Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell, Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa and Penn State’s Sean Clifford.
In his first season as a starter in 2021, Thorne threw for a program record 27 touchdowns, surpassing Kirk Cousins' 25 in 2011. Thorne finished the season ranked among Michigan State's single-season leaders in total offense (third with 3,414 yards), passing yards (third with 3,233), passing yards per game (third with 248.7) and passing efficiency (sixth with 148.1 rating).
Thorne, who will join coach Mel Tucker and teammates Xavier Henderson and Jayden Reed at next week’s Big Ten media days, was an honorable mention all-conference selection last season and is coming off a win over Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl when he threw for a career-high 354 yards.