AUBURN – Auburn head coach Hugh Freeze has decided to go with Payton Thorne as the starting quarterback for the Tigers.

Thorne, a transfer from Michigan State, is a junior from Naperville, Illinois. He was the starter for the Spartans for the last two seasons in which he went 477-776 for 5,919 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Freeze acknowledged how competitive the battle for the quarterback position was.

"I have decided to start Payton," Freeze said. "I totally believe that with Robby and Holden, we can win games with any of the three."

Freeze weighed in on why he decided to go with Thorne when the decision was so tough.

"The reason Payton is getting the nod is his leadership ability and his understanding of the offense," Freeze said. "He's been in some really good battles and just seemed like he was more efficient in his decision-making to this point."

Freeze also stressed this decision could still change at some point in the year which he hopes motivates junior Robby Ashford and sophomore Holden Geriner to keep working hard.

"Once someone gets that job they got to hold on to it," Freeze said. "Hopefully the others continue to work every day to press to make me feel like I need to second guess."

Ashford will be in the second spot on the depth chart for now while Geriner takes ownership of the third.

Thorne is the fourth of Auburn's last five quarterbacks to be a transfer, Bo Nix being the one exception.

Auburn fans do not have much longer to wait to see Thorne and the rest of the Tigers in action. Auburn opens up the 2023 campaign at home inside Jordan-Hare Stadium against the UMass Minutemen on September 2 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.