It looks like Pittsburgh has found its replacement for Kenny Pickett.
USC transfer quarterback Kedon Slovis announced Tuesday that he will continue his college career at Pitt. Once he arrives, the former USC starter will be the heavy favorite to take the reins from Pickett, who finished third in this year’s Heisman Trophy voting and is expected to be one of the first quarterbacks chosen in the 2022 NFL draft.
Slovis started over the past three seasons at USC, including an excellent true freshman season in 2019. Slovis was a relatively unknown three-star recruit out of Arizona who was pressed into action when JT Daniels injured his knee in Week 1. That year, Slovis threw for 3,502 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing 71.9% of his passes.
In the two seasons since, Slovis was never quite able to reach that same level of play. Over the past two seasons (15 total games), Slovis combined for 4,074 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 65.9% of his throws.
He will have two seasons of eligibility to play at Pitt.
Pitt has plenty of talent returning on offense
Pickett started at Pitt for the past four seasons and led the Panthers to an ACC title this year. With Pickett moving on to the NFL, Slovis will have an opportunity to step in right away and compete for a starting job.
He will likely compete with Nick Patti and Davis Beville for the role. Patti has been Pickett’s backup for the past three seasons. Beville was a four-star recruit in the 2019 class and has 14 career passing attempts. The Panthers also have Joey Yellen and Nate Yarnell on scholarship at quarterback. Yellen, an Arizona State transfer, started two games in 2020. Yarnell signed with Pitt in its 2021 recruiting class.
Whoever starts at quarterback for Pitt next fall will benefit from the return of receiver Jordan Addison, this season’s Biletnikoff Award winner. Addison, a sophomore, enters Pitt’s bowl game with 93 catches, 1,479 yards and 17 touchdowns. Pitt’s top three running backs — Israel Abanikanda, Vincent Davis and Rodney Hammond — all could return as well. Those three combined for 1,669 yards and 16 touchdowns on 346 carries.
Without Pickett, Pitt will close out its season in the Peach Bowl against Michigan State on Dec. 30.