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Former USC, Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis commits to BYU football


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PROVO β€” Not long after multi-year BYU starting quarterback Jaren Hall declared for the NFL draft, the Cougars brought in another multi-year Power Five starter to fill out the quarterback room.

Former Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis will transfer to BYU for his final season of college eligibility, a return to the west for the one-time USC starter whose career started with a bang as the Pac-12's Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2019, throwing for 30 touchdowns with just nine interceptions on a 71.9% completion rate.

BYU will be Slovis' third school in as many years in a third different conference, going from USC in the Pac-12 to Pitt in the ACC to the Cougars' first season in the newly revamped Big 12. Once he hit the transfer portal after the Panthers' regular season had concluded, he immediately heard from UCLA and BYU. Slovis visited BYU the Friday after he announced his portal entry, he told Pittsburgh-area media.

HIs plan at the time was to let the bowl season play out at his new school before making a formal decision. BYU wrapped up its season with a win over SMU in the New Mexico Bowl.

"Kedon is an effortless passer, great leader and one of the most accurate quarterbacks in college football," BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said in a statement from the program. "I've enjoyed watching his calm demeanor. He is always poised, never too high or too low. I have been so impressed with his methodical approach to this decision to come to BYU. I can't wait for him to join us in January."

Slovis comes to BYU as a graduate transfer after one season at Pittsburgh, where he completed 58.4% of his passes for 2,397 yards and 10 touchdowns with nine interceptions for the 8-4 Panthers. That was the third time in four years he's thrown for more than 2,000 yards in a season, starting with a 3,502-yard, 30-touchdown season in his first season at USC in 2019.

The Scottsdale, Arizona, native returns to the west after never throwing for fewer than 1,921 yards in a single season, his total during a 17-touchdown, seven-interception sophomore season with the Trojans. He's amassed 9,973 yards and 68 touchdowns over his four years at USC and Pitt, including a career-best 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions as a freshman for the Trojans.

Of course, some of that came against BYU. Slovis completed 24-of-34 passes for 281 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in then-No. 24 USC's 30-27 overtime loss at BYU on Sept. 14, 2019.

That game left quite the impression on Slovis. Or at the very least, it left a unique impression about the home crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium on the former four-star quarterback recruit by ESPN.

"My freshman year, we were playing at BYU, and the crazy thing to me β€” Provo's a weird place," Slovis told the Momentum Truck podcast. "We go in and people are smiling, like, 'Thank you for coming to play.' Usually they heckle you, but the people in the stadium were waiting with shower-bag goodies after the game; they wished us good luck.

"They're all Mormon, right? So they're not drinking. Or 95% of the place isn't drinking, and I think that's more intimidating. Usually when people are heckling you, you know they're just drunk. But every person in that stadium heckling you is sober, and when they say stuff not cussing, like 'Slovis, you stink!'

"In the back of your mind ... you're wondering."

Obviously, a lot has changed since Slovis uttered those words on the podcast of a former USC player: Hall declared for the NFL draft, backup quarterback Jacob Conover entered the transfer portal and returned home to Arizona State, and Slovis took a visit two weeks ago to Provo, where he reportedly wowed the coaching staff while looking for a place to play again on the west coast.

In this Sept. 14, 2019, file photo, quarterback Kedon Slovis looks to pass the ball during the second half against BYU in an NCAA college football game in Provo, Utah. Slovis committed to BYU on Saturday morning.
In this Sept. 14, 2019, file photo, quarterback Kedon Slovis looks to pass the ball during the second half against BYU in an NCAA college football game in Provo, Utah. Slovis committed to BYU on Saturday morning. (Photo: George Frey, Associated Press)

At least one former BYU quarterback great calls Slovis "a great fit" in Aaron Roderick's offense.

"Kedon is somebody who I have known quite a bit for the last few years," said John Beck, who owns 3DQB training quarterbacks around the west coast. "He's someone that I think would be a great fit in Aaron's offense. He can do a lot of great things, and he's someone who can be excited about playing at BYU and in that offense.

"I think it would be a really good fit because of some of the physical things he can do throwing the football."

Slovis entered the transfer portal Dec. 5, and the Panthers quickly added former Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec to fill his role during an ACC-altering week of quarterback roulette using the portal that saw as many as six conference members change signal callers in one day.

But Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said Slovis' time in Pittsburgh should be categorized as a success for the Panthers' team captain.

"I would do it all over again," Narduzzi told reporters before a win over Virginia this season. "I think (Slovis is) very, very talented and he's got another year. I would imagine, in another year, he's gonna be a heckuva lot better than he is this year."

The Panthers won seven games with Slovis under center, even if the season was statistically the worst of his collegiate career.

"It's life," Narduzzi said. "And I'm going to support all our guys. I'm going to support all of them. I'm going to be positive.

"I love Kedon. Kedon's a great kid, did a nice job for us, helped us win eight football games, and I believe at that point, he was the best quarterback to lead our 2022 season. And we'll leave it at that."

Slovis won't be the only quarterback joining the race to replace Hall during spring camp. Sources indicated to KSL.com that the Cougars also plan to bring in a junior college transfer to compete for the starting job, after former backup quarterback Conover's transfer to Arizona State.

Roderick said prior to the Cougars' bowl game that BYU was looking to the portal for "at least two" quarterback transfers.

"We're always recruiting quarterbacks. It never ends," Roderick said. "I want the five best quarterbacks I can get at all times in that room; that will never change."

That race is currently set to include New Mexico Bowl starter Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, who threw for 47 yards and an interception and ran for a game-high 96 yards and a touchdown in a 24-23 win over SMU.

Other quarterbacks on BYU's roster also include Boise State transfer Cade Fennegan; former Utah walk-on Nick Billoups; incoming freshman Ryder Burton from Springville High; and former Corner Canyon standout Cole Hagen, the brother of BYU signee Cody Hagen has committed to BYU after finishing a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a year at Yale.

BYU opens the 2023 season Sept. 2 against Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer Sam Houston State.

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for KSL.com since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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