Thursday is going to feature a clash of former teammates in the Backyard Brawl, as Pitt's Kedon Slovis squares off against West Virginia and JT Daniels.
Slovis, who lost out on the USC starting quarterback job to Daniels as a freshman, has fully embraced the former Big East rivalry. At a recent pep rally, the Scottsdale, Arizona, native began the classic "Hail Pitt" chant before closing with "f— West Virginia," so clearly he's bought in.
Slovis started 26 games for the Trojans, compiling a 16-10 record under Clay Helton and Donte Williams. He completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 7,576 yards, 58 touchdowns, and 24 interceptions.
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Despite the seemingly mixed bag of stats for Slovis, he never seemed to truly find his footing at USC. He struggled with his mechanics despite being coached by Jordan Palmer and Tom House, and on Dec. 13, 2021, he entered the transfer portal. Eight days later, he committed to Pitt.
Why did Kedon Slovis enter the transfer portal?
Slovis didn't garner a ton of interest in his time at Desert Mountain High School in Arizona, and he was hardly a coveted prospect. A three-star initial recruit, USC was able to land Slovis relatively easily. As a freshman, he was beaten out for the starting job by Daniels to open the season, but after Daniels suffered a season-ending knee injury he started the next game against Stanford.
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Things started on a high note against the Cardinal, as Slovis went 28 of 33 passing for 377 yards and three touchdowns. The rest of his freshman campaign was similarly impressive, as he completed 71.9 percent of his passes for 3,502 yards and had a touchdown to interception ratio Cal State Northridge Matadors clothes better than 3:1. USC, however would log just an 8-5 record and lose the Holiday Bowl to Iowa.
After the shortened 2020 season, Slovis returned to start in 2021, having worked with the aforementioned Palmer and House. In this go-round, he completed 65 percent of his passes for 2,153 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. USC finished 4-8, Slovis lost the WVU vs. Pitt Rivalry Shirts starting job to Jaxson Dart, Helton was fired, and USC landed Lincoln Riley in the offseason.
That left Slovis as the odd Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Gear man out at USC, and he subsequently entered the transfer portal after the regular season.
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Why did Kedon Slovis go to Pitt?
Things unfolded very quickly for Slovis after he entered the portal. He was contacted by Notre Dame shortly after.
"I had to Cal Poly Mustangs Jerseys wrap up my workout and get in the car because I think it was actually Notre Dame on the phone for the first call. I was like, 'Shoot. This is kind of developing a lot more quickly than I imagined,'" he said, per Sports Illustrated.
Slovis, who will be taking over from NFL first-round pick Kenny Pickett, explained his decision to join the Panthers in February.
“I think the main thing was you saw the talent last year, and everyone had a great year,” he said, per SB Nation's Cardiac Hill. “From afar, I kind of assumed that it was an older team and that everyone would be leaving. But when I got the cal College Lacrosse Jerseys l, I kind of realized everyone was staying except for Kenny. Looking at the opportunity, it was kind of a no-brainer, and [Pitt] jumped to the top of my list immediately.”
Pitt's depth chart will, indeed, be quarterback-friendly. The 11-3 Panthers won the ACC for the first time last season (capitalizing on a brutal year for Clemson), and will still have the likes Carleton Knights shirt of Jared Wayne and Konata Mumpfield in tow. The offensive line is also largely intact. The Pitt offense suffered a blow when receiver Jordan Addison transferred to USC in May, but there is still plenty to work with.
Pitt is entering this year with high aspirations, and Slovis will try to recapture some of his freshman season magic. Whether he can do so remains to be seen. But he certainly has t Alabama vs. Auburn Rivalry Shirts he spirit.