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Kedon Slovis: Analyzing the true freshman’s record-setting UCLA performance

November 26, 2019

Kedon Slovis had just set multiple USC records, including throwing for the most yards in the history of the Trojan-Bruin rivalry. Yet, somehow, after leading Troy to a 17-point win over UCLA, the freshman remained modest and deferred praise to his teammates.

“Obviously it’s an honor to be among that list but I think it just reflects on the receiving core and the players around me,” he said. “We had four receivers over 100 yards. I don’t think any of those other guys had the opportunity to have four of their receivers do that.”

Slovis continued, “I think [Graham] Harrell said it a few weeks back. Any of you in [the press conference] could probably throw for over 100 yards with these receivers. It’s exciting to put up numbers and all that, but I think I really have a good team around me that makes that happen.”

One of those receivers, senior Biletnikoff Award finalist Michael Pittman Jr., couldn’t have predicted Slovis would have such a good season.

“It’s funny because no, I didn’t see this coming,” Pittman said. “Like, I didn’t see him becoming the new superstar quarterback of college football.”

With JT Daniels on the roster, nobody expected Slovis to start for the Trojans in 2019, including Slovis himself.

“Going into the year I didn’t think I’d be in the starting role,” he said. “Obviously it’s unfortunate that it was due to injury, but, you know, when you’re opportunity comes you’ve got to make the most of it.”

To say Slovis made the most of his opportunity as the starter this season is an understatement. His 515 passing yards against UCLA were the most ever by a USC quarterback. He led all freshmen signal-callers across the nation in passer rating and ranked inside the top 15 in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdown passes and yards per attempt. 

Oh, and there’s this statistic: Slovis is the first quarterback in USC history to amass three consecutive 400-yard passing games. He also collected the most passing yards by a true freshman in USC history.

Slovis made the most of what might’ve been the best receiving core the Trojans have ever had, and he may only lose Pittman. Fellow true freshman Drake London developed quite a connection with Slovis late in the season, highlighted by his eight-reception, 142-yard performance against the Bruins. There’s also Amon-Ra St. Brown, who hauled in 879 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.

Munir McClain will return from injury and Tyler Vaughns has the option to come back. There’s no limit to what Graham Harrell’s “Air Raid” scheme can accomplish in 2020, with the level of talent returning. The quarterback competition in the spring and fall of 2020 between Daniels and Slovis will surely create its fair share of excitement and drama, but it’s hard to imagine Clay Helton -- or Urban Meyer, Ed Orgeron or whoever’s coaching USC -- benching Slovis after the season he just put together.

USC’s 8-4 finish to the 2019 season is impressive, considering the amount of injuries and adversity this year’s Trojans hit. But, nobody around college football will be surprised by Slovis -- or any of the Trojans star receivers -- in 2020. Should Slovis win the job, it’ll be extremely interesting to see what Graham Harrell and the rest of the young Trojans can accomplish with a year of experience under their belts.

Tags: USC Scoop
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