Ex-USC Football QB Kedon Slovis was named Pitt's starting QB for the season opener last week, and ex-USC Football QB JT Daniels was named West Virginia's starting QB for the season opener on Monday. The best part? That season opener will be against each other.
The 'Backyard Brawl' rivalry game will be renewed for the first time since 2011, and the two former teammates will face off against each other. These two quarterbacks of course played together in 2019. Daniels was the starter for the season opener, and looked great while he was out there, but got hurt heading into the half.
He ended up missing the rest of the season. Slovis was the backup behind Daniels, and came in to quarterback the Trojans with Daniels out for the year. Slovis also looked great that year, completing 71.9% of his passes for 8.9 yards per pass attempt and dropping 30 dimes to only nine picks as just a true freshman. He had another very good year the next year too.
Such a good year to the point where he was named First-Team All-Pac 12. Daniels had another very good year, too. He transferred to Georgia for that season, where he completed 67.2% of his passes, and averaged 10.3 yards per attempt. He threw 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions in four games after he returned from injury during the season.
Neither ex-USC football QB had their ideal season last year, though.
Both former USC football QBs Kedon Slovis and JT Daniels didn't have the years they wanted to last year. And for both of them, it wasn't particularly their faults.
For Slovis, SC had to sacrifice the season and fire Head Coach Clay Helton because they knew early on that they wouldn't compete for a National Championship, they didn't want to give him a chance to win his job back again, and they wanted to give themselves as much time as possible to make sure they could sign a coach at Lincoln Riley's caliber.
As a result, Slovis was left to his own devices, having to work with an interim defensive head coach who had never been a head coach or even coordinator before in Donte Williams. Williams did his best, and is a tremendous position coach, but struggled with growing pains last season in his first head coaching gig.
He made some particularly questionable decisions regarding Slovis, too, such as randomly making USC run a two-QB system that had no rhyme or reason to any of it. Slovis ended up only completing 65% of his passes, only averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt, and only throwing 11 touchdowns as a result.
As for Daniels, he actually was playing very well last season when he was the starter, but he got injured early. Despite him coming back and being healthy, the team chose to continue playing backup Stetson Bennett because they still hadn't yet lost a game.
Most would agree that Daniels was FAR more talented, but they didn't want to risk fixing something that still possibly could not have been broken. Therefore, Daniels only played five games last year (three starts). He looked good--completing 72.3% of his throws and tossing seven touchdowns to only three picks. He just unfortunately didn't get a ton of playing time.
Now, though, both guys are getting fresh starts at programs they are the unquestioned QB1's for, and have a new opportunity to shine. Each get their start to their clean slates on Thursday. It's come quite full circle to see both of these players face off after going through some misfortunes that they had to deal with in their college careers. Hopefully both right their respective ships.