PITTSBURGH — In a press conference on Wednesday, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi announced that Kedon Slovis will start at quarterback in the Backyard Brawl, ending the competition between Slovis and Nick Patti.
Patti served as former quarterback Kenny 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 has praised Patti in the past despite the competition.
“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 percentage.
There’s a strong likelihood that he can face off against his former USC teammate JT Daniels in the Backyard Brawl, although WVU has yet to name a starting quarterback. Daniels remains to be the favorite.
A former five star recruit Daniels was the starter a year prior to Slovis joining USC. An injury to Daniels in his sophomore year ended his season early, which led to a phenomenal season from Slovis as a three-star true freshman.
In 12 games that season, Slovis threw for 3,502 yards with 30 touchdowns to just nine interceptions while completing 71.9% of his passes. While he has yet to replicate that season, his success likely led to Daniels to transfer to Georgia.