Michigan State QB Payton Thorne becomes latest Power Five starter to enter transfer portal

Thorne spent the past two seasons as Michigan State's starting QB

Another experienced quarterback has hit the transfer portal.

On Sunday, Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne put his name into the portal.

Thorne was entering his fifth season with the program, including two as the Spartans’ starter. Thorne redshirted in 2019 and played in four games with one start in 2020 before seizing the starting role.

In 2021, when MSU came out of nowhere to win 11 games in its first season under head coach Mel Tucker, Thorne threw for 3,240 yards and 27 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Last season, Thorne threw for 2,679 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as the Spartans took a big step back and finished the year 5-7.

Despite two years of starting experience, Thorne was not assured the starting job entering the 2023 season. Thorne was competing with redshirt sophomore Noah Kim during spring practice.

Kim, who was 14-of-19 for 174 yards and three touchdowns last season, impressed during the spring game. Katin Houser, a four-star recruit in the 2022 class, has also been in the mix to start. After the spring game, Tucker said all three would continue to compete for the starting job through the summer and into fall camp. Now, with Thorne in the portal, it looks like that competition will be pared down to two.

Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne looks to pass against Maryland during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Thorne should receive significant interest in portal

Thorne, who has thrown for 6,493 yards, 49 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in his college career, should receive plenty of interest from the quarterback-needy programs on the transfer market.

Thorne is the second Big Ten starter to enter the portal in the last few days. Casey Thompson, who started for Nebraska last year after beginning his career at Texas, put his name into the portal on Friday. Thompson was reportedly on Auburn’s campus this weekend.

Other experienced quarterbacks in the portal include Ben Bryant (Cincinnati) and Hayden Wolff (Old Dominion). Tyler Buchner, the Week 1 starter for Notre Dame last season, committed to Alabama on Thursday. Additionally, ex-Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan committed to TCU last week.

Sunday is the final day for non-graduate transfers to enter the portal during the spring window. Will any other notable quarterbacks pursue a transfer before the deadline?

Michigan State's top WR also goes into portal

The bad news didn't end with Thorne for Michigan State on Sunday.

Keon Coleman, MSU's top wide receiver, also put his name into the transfer portal, according to multiple reports. As a sophomore in 2022, Coleman led the Spartans with 58 catches for 798 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had seven catches for 50 yards and a touchdown as a true freshman.

A native of Louisiana, Coleman was a three-star recruit in MSU's 2021 class. He picked the Spartans over offers from Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Tennessee, Texas and USC, among others. Coleman also was a member of MSU's basketball team.

Coleman will be one of the most coveted players in the portal.