Michigan State has one of the biggest position battles this year in the country at quarterback. They have three guys that could be starting at quarterback this fall. Will it be a true freshman or will it be an experienced senior? Nobody really knows as of now, not even head coach Mel Tucker, but I am here to help you get to know these player’s games and skills.
Thorne is a 6’2″ redshirt sophomore going into the 2020 season. Because he redshirted his freshman year, there was no college film for review, so I had to go back to his high school days at Naperville High in Illinois. On film, Thorne showed some intriguing skills, one of which was his accuracy.
He was able to make clean passes through tight windows without his receivers having to go out of their way to catch the ball. Thorne’s arm strength seemed to be average as I did not see many long passes or hard passes. He also showed great speed on film but did not run it much, simply because he did not need to as he had great receivers that got open quickly.
I would not surprised if Payton Thorne was named the starting quarterback this fall. You have already heard stuff about Thorne being the starter next season before former coach Mark Dantonio stepped down.
Day is a whopping 6’5″ (redshirt) junior. Again, there was no college film so I had to go back to his days at Divine Child High School in Michigan to find his film. The first thing I noticed while I was watching his film is that he has very good pocket awareness, and was able to trick defensive linemen with quick steps and jabs. Day throws a very accurate lob pass. He is also extremely accurate on long passes.
The arm strength of Day seems to be average but will improve because of how big he is. He also has a good amount of \ speed as he was able to have many long runs burning the entire defense. To be honest, Day reminds me a lot of Brian Lewerke (because of his large frame).
They both have decent arms and underrated speed. Spartan Nation, don’t be surprised if Day is named the starting quarterback come August. He definitely has the size and tools to be the next great MSU quarterback.
Lombardi is a 6’3″ senior. While Lewerke was injured during the 2018 season, Lombardi made three starts. But during those three starts, Lombardi showed little promise. Yes, he had a career game at home against Purdue and yes, he was in a really outdated offense scheme but I still wouldn’t bank on him being good (if he’s named the starter).
Lombardi has below-average speed which would be okay if he was an accurate thrower of the football which he is not. Teams rely on having running quarterbacks unless you have one that is accurate. I like Lombardi, I really do, but I don’t see him being great.
He has a nice arm but he doesn’t throw well down the field as he overthrows his receivers on many downfield routes. \ However, don’t be surprised if he is the starter next fall, as he’s got the most experience on the roster.
If you were to ask me who should be starting at quarterback on September third when MSU plays Northwestern, I wouldn’t be confident in an answer. With no spring practices or games, the fans and the coaching staff have barely seen any of these guys play.
If I had to choose, I would have to say Theo Day. Day has the most potential on the roster with his tall frame and good speed. He also has been in the MSU program for three years now so he has a little bit of experience. It surely will be a close competition.
Photo: Matthew Mitchell/MSU Athletic Communications