Column | Don’t hate on Kedon Slovis


By Brian Sherry, Sports Editor

Things looked good for former Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis at the start of the 2022 football season. Thanks to a vulgar pep rally and a valiant 308 yard passing performance in the Backyard Brawl, fans rallied behind Slovis as the undisputed face of Pitt football.

Then, just a month later, Slovis finally cracked. Entering the Oct. 1 game against Georgia Tech, most analysts predicted a big, momentum-gaining win for Pitt. 

But Mother Nature had other plans.

As rain drenched fans and players alike at Acrisure Stadium, the Panthers fell flat. The slippery conditions favored the run-heavy Yellow Jackets, allowing them to rush for 232 yards as a team. Slovis himself put up a solid performance as he threw for three touchdowns and 305 yards. But the Yellow Jackets stung harder than the rain as Georgia Tech ultimately upset the Panthers 26-21.

After the upset, it seemed the rain had washed away the Panthers’ motivation as they went on to lose two of their next three games. With the season quickly going downhill, fingers pointed at Slovis as the reason for the failures. 

But the season didn’t end in failure. The Panthers finished the season with four straight wins, earning themselves a Sun Bowl bid in the process. Despite the late season success, Slovis had enough of Pitt and announced his decision to transfer before the Sun Bowl. 

Now, just a few months after Slovis’ departure, it seems no one in Pittsburgh has fond memories of the former starting quarterback. Even some of Slovis’ own former teammates have openly aired their grievances with him. Pitt redshirt senior defensive back Marquis Williams recently called out Slovis in a deleted tweet for quitting on the team. As evidenced by Williams’ tweet, the hate for Kedon Slovis is real at Pitt. 

But, all things considered, can anyone really blame Slovis for leaving? Throughout Slovis’ time at Pitt, it was apparent that nothing he did could appease the fans. Sure, winning the Backyard Brawl earned him some credit with the community. But after that, even on his best days, people always found something to pick apart. 

Whether getting called out by the broadcasting crew in Pitt’s 24-10 loss to Louisville or facing heat for how the coaching staff addressed his struggles in press conferences, Slovis was always the easy scapegoat for Pitt’s struggles. Heck, even I was unnecessarily hard on the former Panther signal caller. During a live ACC Network broadcast on Sirius XM, I straight-up said Sloivs was too soft to play for Pitt and that he shouldn’t return next year. 

Nonetheless, I now feel that the entire Pitt fanbase is wrong for hating on Slovis. I don’t like the way he was treated while he was in Pittsburgh, and I certainly don’t like the way he was treated when he left. 

First and foremost, Slovis wasn’t even a bad quarterback. He threw for 2,397 yards and 10 touchdowns last season with Pitt. While these aren’t the greatest numbers, they most certainly aren’t the worst either. 

Plus, Slovis still led Pitt to one of its best seasons in recent memory. Pitt’s final 9-4 record was its second-best since 2009. Of course, the team’s success pales in comparison to 2021, but it was impressive nonetheless. 

Ultimately, much of the hate that Slovis received last season was because he did not live up to the hype as Kenny Pickett’s successor. The comparisons to Pickett began as soon as Slovis transferred to Pitt. Pickett was mentioned in nearly every article about Slovis’ move to Pitt, making it extremely difficult for the former USC signal caller to step out of the Heisman finalist’s shadow. 

But here’s the thing — Slovis was never going to live up to the comparison. Pickett spent five years in the Pitt system before making his big breakthrough in 2021. Slovis, who transferred to Pitt just a few months before the 2022 season, did not have the same chemistry and mastery of the system that Pickett did. 

Of course, Slovis’ exit from Pitt was less than perfect. His failure to adequately inform his teammates about his decision is definitely noteworthy. But no one can blame him for transferring. He was set up for failure from the start at Pitt and the fans definitely did not help sway him to stay either. 

Now, as Slovis embarks on his next chapter at BYU, I think it’s time for the entire Pitt community to wish him the best of luck and thank him for helping a once stagnant program reach success for the second straight year. While this is a tall task for some Pitt fans, the key message is this — don’t hate on Kedon Slovis.