Scouting Report: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern

Wheaton, IL | 6034 | 220 | 4.70E | 2019

Runs an up-tempo, no-huddle offense, operating from the shotgun with a variety of option plays. Showcases the ability to squeeze the ball into tight windows and seems to thrive off the playaction. He possesses deceptive scrambling ability and is capable of picking up the first down with his feet if presented the opportunity. Needs to improve his anticipation in the pocket and learn to see the field—he has taken more sacks and tossed more interceptions as a junior, than he did during his freshman and sophomore campaigns. He also tends to lock in on his intended receiver and wait for him to make his break, rather than leading his target. His sense of an internal time clock must get faster and he needs to learn how to make better pre-snap assessments. While he boasts plenty of experience as a three-year starter in the Big Ten, another criticism has been his inability to lead Northwestern to a big-time signature win over a meaningful team or game of significant importance. There were seven NFL general managers in attendance for his game against Penn State in 2017, in which he laid an egg. He failed to pick up the blitz versus Wisconsin and it avalanched into a flurry of bad decision-making. His draft stock has taken a hit because of it.

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2016: Redshirt sophomore … Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection by the conference’s coaches and media … Second season as the Wildcats’ starting signal caller … Set a new NU single-season record with 22 touchdown passses … His 3,182 passing yards are the most ever by a quarterback in their sophomore season and the fourth most in NU single-season history … Ranked fourth in passing yards (3,182), yards per game (244.8) and touchdowns (22)… Completed 23-of-36 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown in the Wildcats’ victory over No. 23 Pittsburgh in the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl.

2015: Finished season with 1522 passing yards and 397 rushing yards.

2014: Redshirted his first season in Evanston.

High School: High School: Ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country by Rivals.com … Named 2013 first-team All-State by Chicago Tribune, Champaign News Gazett eand the IHSA … Competed in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in California, where he was named the game’s MVP … Recorded 2,809 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 630 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in his senior year … Twice led Wheaton North to appearances in the state quarterfinals … Four-time Tom Lemming All-Area Team … Two-time All Conference … Recipient of the Jim Rexilius “Proper State of Mind” Award and the Red Grange Award … Team captain … Four-year honor roll student and a member of the Math Honor Society.

Personal: Born Clayton James Thorson … Son of Chad and Shauna Thorson … Father played for the New York Giants and played collegiately for Wheaton College, where two of Chad’s older brothers also competed … Clayton competed against NU teammates Dan Vitale and Justin Jackson in high school, also playing AAU basketball with Jackson … Chose Northwestern over numerous Big Ten offers (including Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota) as well as Boston College, Syracuse, Northern Illinois and Ole Miss … Major is communication studies with a minor in business institutions.