United States Football League
Houston Gamblers QB Clayton Thorson, the USFL's 'emerging star'
United States Football League

Houston Gamblers QB Clayton Thorson, the USFL's 'emerging star'

Updated Apr. 22, 2022 4:45 p.m. ET

Clayton Thorson is no stranger to the big stage.

The 26-year-old signal-caller was a four-year starter at Northwestern from 2015 to 2019. During his time in Evanston, Thorson started 53 games, posting a 36-17 record, including a pair of 10-win seasons in 2015 and 2017. 

His 53 consecutive starts are the most ever by a Big Ten quarterback and tie him with former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy for the most ever by a Power 5 QB.

After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, Thorson had a pair of stops with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants before landing with the Houston Gamblers in the USFL.


The former Northwestern standout made his USFL debut last week in the Gamblers’ 17-12 victory over the Michigan Panthers. While Thorson’s numbers didn’t set the world on fire, it was his impressive 12-yard touchdown strike to Isaiah Zuber in the second quarter that caught the attention of "Undisputed" co-hosts Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless.

Houston Gamblers' WR Isaiah Zuber goes up for toe-tap TD

Gamblers wideout Zuber scores a tough touchdown for a 17-0 lead over the Michigan Panthers.

"I was very impressed by this play," Sharpe said of Thorson’s throw, which was placed perfectly over a pair of Panthers defenders and into Zuber’s hands in the back corner of the end zone. 

"That was a heck of a play. That was an NFL throw that quarterback made in that moment."

Clayton Thorson, Houston Gamblers eyeing 2-0 USFL start

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe react to Clayton Thorson's game-winning touchdown against the Michigan Panthers and share what they look forward to in Week 2.

The touchdown pass from Thorson ended up being the game-winning score, which led to the "Undisputed" crew tabbing it as the "USFL Best Moment of the Week."

"If you think of the sight line that [Clayton Thorson] had, he’s got to be seeing nothing but red jerseys but know that his receiver has crept behind him and the two [defensive backs] hit together in the air, and he drops it right over them," Bayless said of the impressive throw.

"I have been a big fan of Clayton Thorson since he played at Northwestern," he added. "I believe he will emerge as a USFL star."

Top 10 plays from USFL's Week 1

Check out the Top 10 plays of the opening week in the USFL.

Thorson wasn’t the only USFL standout with a must-see moment from Week 1. 

On Friday, the "First Things First" crew shared their picks for the best plays from the opening week of the season.

BEST CATCH: Birmingham Stallions WR Osirus Mitchell hauls in an incredible one-handed touchdown grab.

Chris Broussard on Mitchell’s catch: "My goodness, lookin’ like [Odell Beckham Jr.] out there."

BEST RUN: Philadelphia Stars RB Darnell Holland breaks off an impressive 42-yard touchdown run.

Kevin Wildes on Holland’s run: "His Twitter handle is @yocrazylegs!"

BEST TECHNOLOGY: The Gamblers and Panthers break out the official first-down technology.

Nick Wright on the best technology: "Robots: Terrible customer service, excellent first down measurements. The USFL gets it. They’re giving us robotic first-down measurements. I’m excited for more of these advancements this weekend."


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