PITTSBURGH — Pitt has entered the post-Kenny Pickett era, and USC transfer Kedon Slovis will lead it.
With just over a week until Pitt kicks off the 2022 season against West Virginia in the revival of the Backyard Brawl, head coach Pat Narduzzi has named Kedon Slovis as Pitt’s starting quarterback, ending the competition between Slovis and Nick Patti.
The quarterback competition between Slovis and Patti was the leading storyline ahead of the 2022 season, and while both quarterbacks impressed throughout the spring and summer, it was Slovis’s consistency that earned the starting job.
Patti served as Pickett’s backup over the past few seasons, and while other quarterbacks might have felt disrespected by being passed over, Patti approached the quarterback competition as a professional.
“I have a lot of respect for him, we’ve talked, and he has a lot of respect for me,” Patti said earlier this month. “We know that the best guy is going to play, so if he’s better than me in this camp, I have a lot of respect for him because I feel comfortable with the way I’m playing. I’m playing at a high level, and I know he is too.”
Slovis, for his part, has gotten to know Patti and all the quarterbacks in the room — losing Joey Yellen and Davis Beville over the offseason — and he couldn’t have asked for a better quarterbacks room. He couldn’t have asked for a better competitor in Patti either.
“Nick’s been awesome,” Slovis said earlier in August. “I think when I committed, (Patti) sent me a text even before I committed, because coach told him, and he sent me a text right away. I met him on the first day. He’s been awesome, he’s an awesome guy to be around and the room has been awesome to be around every day. Really all those guys in the room make it fun.”
Slovis played three seasons at USC, earning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2019 and All-Pac-12 first-team honors in 2020, before he played through an injury-plagued junior season. He produced 7,576 yards and 58 touchdowns to just 24 interceptions on 68.4% completion (showcasing an elite accuracy), and now he’ll look to improve upon those numbers at Pitt.
With offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti Jr. in place, Pitt’s offense will be more balanced than it’s been in recent memory, but that offensive push to regain last season’s scoring totals will be dependent upon Slovis.
With Konata Mumpfield, Jared Wayne, Bub Means, Gavin Bartholomew and a deep running backs unit that features the likes of Israel Abanikanda, Rodney Hammond Jr. and Vincent Davis, the weapons offensively are easy to see. It will be Slovis’s task to make use of his considerable talents now.