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Northwestern Signing Day 2014 Player Capsules: Clayton Thorson

The Basics

School: Wheaton North (IL)
Position: QB (Pro-Style)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4/205 pounds
Stars: 4
Other offers: Boston College, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ole Miss, Penn State, Syracuse, Toledo
247 Profile
Twitter: @CThorson18

What You Should Know

Thorson is a huge get for coach Pat Fitzgerald and this Northwestern program. The local product became the first piece of a 15-player puzzle when he chose Northwestern back in March over some other significant Big Ten offers.

He’ll be listed as a pro-style quarterback because of his size – and also because he can stand tall in the pocket and sling the ball around the field – but Thorson ran a lot of read-option in high school. He’s a top-notch athlete for a quarterback, and will likely be well suited to engineer whatever type of offense the Northwestern coaching staff chooses to employ.

Trevor Siemian will, in all likelihood, inherit the full-time starting quarterback job in 2014. That logically means Thorson will redshirt. But in 2015 is when it will get interesting.

Four-star QB Matt Alviti was widely considered the quarterback of the future when he gave NU his commitment as part of the class of 2013. Thorson will now be just one year behind Alviti, and the 2015 offseason will likely present an open QB competition. Fitzgerald has shown a willingness to go to the two-QB system, but these two highly touted prospects will both have the opportunity to win the job, meaning Thorson starting as a redshirt freshman isn’t out of the question.

The old saying goes that if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. However, Fitzgerald and Northwestern have provided counter evidence to that theory. Plus, there’s no guarantee that Thorson and/or Alviti will pan out in the long run. Having the two of them just increases the probability of NU having at least one prolific quarterback a few years down the road.


"Coach Fitzgerald always asks how can the next four years prepare you for the next 40 years,” Thorson told 247 Sports last year. “And my answer was playing for coach Fitzgerald and getting an education at Northwestern."