In the winter of the biggest free agency of transfer quarterbacks in college football history, Pitt was linked with a number of guys.
It started with Florida State transfer Chubba Purdy and as more and more big-time names hit the transfer portal, names like Texas A&M’s Zach Calzada and USC’s Kedon Slovis began swirling as potential fits. When Pitt didn’t add a quarterback in its class of 2022, head coach Pat Narduzzi said he knew Pitt was gonna look for a transfer fit.
“It’s a process like anything else,” Narduzzi said. “We knew if we didn’t take a freshman quarterback that we were gonna take a transfer. We were looking for the best available, and we hunted and we searched and some good guys in the bucket, and we were able to land our No. 1 guy that we wanted in Kedon. We’re excited to have him, he’ll be here in January.”
Narduzzi said the tape on Slovis is one thing, but in getting to know the kind of person that he is, he’s a fit for the program. And that’s the most important thing in Narduzzi’s use of the transfer portal. He knows Slovis will fit in the room.
While Narduzzi said Kenny Pickett’s success this season was obviously a factor in luring Slovis to Pittsburgh, it wasn’t one person or one thing. While Pitt has what Slovis is looking for and vice versa, it’s all about what’s best for the team moving forward.
“Kenny’s success, for sure,” Narduzzi said. “O-line coming back, which (Slovis) knew before you guys knew. … There’s a guy, Jordan Addison, coming back, No. 3. I think that was a factor, and Jared Wayne and Gavin Bartholomew. You look at the defense coming back. I think all those played into it.”
Marcus Minor transferred to Pitt from Maryland before the season, stepping in as an immediate difference-maker, and he said he reached out to Slovis as a fellow transfer.
“I talked to him simply because I’m a transfer,” Minor said. “Told him my situation, I had told him that we were coming back, but it was really just up to him on that standpoint. I could only go off of what I’ve been through here in my time – which has been awesome since I’ve been here.”
And in taking the intangibles that Slovis offers, Narduzzi said Pitt is obviously excited about his physical traits and abilities.
“He’s obviously played at a high level,” Narduzzi said. “He’s got a great arm, he’s got great pocket presence and I think he’s a leader. I think we can get even more out of him; I think there were some things he was looking for that he found here besides personnel.”
Narduzzi said he kept the team in the loop regarding transfer decisions up to a certain point, at the end of the day, it’s his duty to find guys that will make Pitt the best it can be. Regardless of whether that’s a transfer decision, bringing in high school seniors or whatever. The competition is what’s best for the program.
“There’s competition at every single position, period,” Narduzzi said. “From the O-line to the DBs to the kickers.”
So, no, Slovis won’t just waltz into the starting spot next season, but he’ll be firmly in the running to emerge as Pitt’s starting quarterback next season — and the early favorite to do so.