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Pitt Football

Is Kedon Slovis Preparing for Second Season at Pitt?

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Kedon Slovis was Pitt’s first choice in the transfer portal. With Kenny Pickett leaving for the NFL, Pitt wanted a proven, veteran quarterback to follow him.

When Slovis to Pitt transferred from USC, there was an expectation that his integration — with basically a full offseason — would be seamless. It hasn’t been quite the seamless fit that perhaps Pitt and Slovis envisioned last December.

Pitt is 4-3 through seven games this season, basically eliminated from both ACC Coastal and ACC contention, and it hasn’t been easy for Slovis or Pitt as a whole.

In five and a half games, Slovis has thrown for 1,325 yards and five touchdowns (with five interceptions) on 107-of-177 passing attempts (60.5% completion). It’s been a trying season for an offense that hasn’t been able to find consistency.

Pitt is scoring 31.4 points per game (6th best in the ACC) and racking up 415.6 total yards per game (8th best in the ACC), but that’s been inflated by the efforts of Israel Abanikanda. Izzy has averaged 137 rush yards per game, 185 all-purpose yards per game and scored 14 of Pitt’s 28 total touchdowns this season.

Which only makes Slovis’s struggles that much more agonizing this season.

The addition of Frank Cignetti Jr. as offensive coordinator pointed to a shift toward more balanced playcalling, and Abanikanda’s success obviously garners further carries, but it’s come without any sort of passing threat this season.

In a season in which Slovis was expected to not just bridge the gap between Pickett and the future of Pitt football but carve out his own legacy, it’s been anything but fulfilling. Disappointing losses, a week-and-a-half concussion and poor performance have plagued Slovis, but Pat Narduzzi hasn’t been particularly put off.

“You’re looking for great players, and everybody picks it up a little bit different,” Narduzzi said Thursday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “It’s not easy for anybody. It wasn’t easy for Nathan Peterman either. Nathan Peterman was a good take, and he’s still playing in the league.

“It’s better to have a guy that can make the plays and make the throws and develop, and that’s what you want. You’d rather always take a player over a guy that maybe — Oh, I wanna develop him, he’s gonna get good. … I would do it all over again. I think (Slovis’s) 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.”

That’s a sentiment that appears to be both a ringing endorsement of Slovis’s ability in the present and his potential development in the future.

Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kedon Slovis (9) September 24, 2022 David Hague/PSN

As a senior with the ability to return next season, after a season in which even the most ardent Pitt supporters wouldn’t step up to bat for his on-field performance, Slovis has the opportunity to return next season. It would be his fifth season in college football.

If Slovis has been worried about taking chances in anticipation of a potential NFL opportunity, trying to showcase a strength of spirit that appeals to NFL teams, Narduzzi hasn’t seen it.

“You’ve got to play within the system,” Narduzzi said. “I think (Slovis’s) a cautious guy, and I think last week, maybe he said, ‘I’m done being cautious,’ and went to take a shot, which sometimes happens.

“You’ve gotta learn from those mistakes. That sometimes happens. They all do it. They all wanna make plays, and I want a guy who wants to make plays. We appreciate the work and effort he puts into it because he’s detailed.”

There are five games left this season, and it’s clear that both Narduzzi and Cignetti have an exorbitant amount of faith in Slovis this season. There isn’t going to be a quarterback change unless the miraculous happens, and it might just be because Pitt expects Slovis to return next season.

If Slovis returns next season, the room around him would be uncertain. Nick Patti is another senior who has an added Covid season at his disposal, but it would be shocking if Patti were to return for another backup season.

Derek Kyler is a one-and-done. Nate Yarnell has received his first taste of college football this season and received praise from the coaching staff — as a redshirt freshman. Kenny Minchey, a four-star commit in the class of 2023, is currently a hard commit, but it would be very, very unlikely if he started entering the 2023 season.

Based on Narduzzi’s comments, it wouldn’t be all that shocking if Slovis decided to return for a second season at Pitt — especially considering his current professional outlook.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago

Why would pitt want him back? They will have much less talent next year so develop Yarnell with the rest while Minchey watches and learns. Slovis for one more year does nothing for the program. I would think if Slovis comes back both Patti and Yarnell will move on.

Justin Dietrich
Justin Dietrich
27 days ago

Much LESS talent? Please, keep showing us how uneducated you truly are. You never disappoint in that arena…

Fjb
Fjb
27 days ago

Pretty much the whole starting offensive line is leaving, Abanakanda is likely gone, not to mention the sure to transfer WRs who are tired of blocking in Cignetti’s stale offense. === less talent

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago
Reply to  Fjb

exactly

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago
Reply to  Fjb

DL and LB as well

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago

who is coming back with talent?

TJ
TJ
27 days ago

Given his performance to date, I expect Kedon will come back rather than try for the NFL this year. If so, Patti may move on but I don’t see Yarnell leaving. Currently, he is 3rd on the depth chart. Not sure Narduzzi or Cignetti are giving him the starting job next season. If Kedon leaves and Patti comes back, Yarnell may find himself on the bench as well.

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
27 days ago
Reply to  TJ

He’s a Texas kid, can transfer or drop down to a Delaware, etc.

Let’s Believe
Let’s Believe
27 days ago

Not eliminated from Coastal contention. Have to win out and have unc lose to either Wake or NC State. Tall order but doable. Not eliminated

Let’s Believe
Let’s Believe
27 days ago

Ok I’m now changing my name to “Lost Belief.”

ken robertson
ken robertson
26 days ago

Slovis a pro? Based on what?

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
25 days ago

When Minchey decommits what is the plan from there? Just ride with Slovis again? More transfers coming in? I don’t believe they have another QB recruit in the 23 class which is scary. If Slovis comes back Patti will be gone to play his last year somewhere else and I would bet Yarnell leaves as well. Do you think Duzz and Cig have a contingency in place?

Dukes

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