The USC football team has a great chance to provide a top Heisman Trophy candidate next year in quarterback Kedon Slovis. If Clay Helton can surround the young man with a strong supporting cast, the Trojans could be a legitimate contender next season.
After a phenomenal freshman campaign, when Slovis threw for 3,502 yards, with 30 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, he was nearly as good this season, despite all the hurdles he and his teammates had to overcome with the state of world affairs.
In just six games this season, while his numbers weren't as good across the board, they were still excellent. He passed for 1,921 yards, 17 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Unrepresented in those stats are his clutch moments. He threw two late touchdowns passes in a miracle comeback over ASU. He shredded Arizona in the fourth quarter to save the Trojans again. The UCLA game also featured Slovis heroics in a rivalry victory.
It is easy to foresee improvement for Slovis over his already sparkling numbers. His greatest challenge may be his supporting cast. The Trojans will need to start games more consistently and develop depth at some key positions. Jackson Caudell of Saturday Blitz pointed out after the Pac-12 title game how much the Trojans missed running back Vavae Malepeai. Meanwhile, a handful of USC starters are leaving for the NFL. Replacement must get up to speed quickly.
Kedon Slovis will have plenty of competition for the Heisman Trophy.
Slovis will have plenty of strong competitors if he wants to win the Heisman. North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell has put up even more impressive numbers than the USC quarterback in his freshman and sophomore campaigns.
Spencer Rattler will certainly make some noise for the Sooners next season. D'Eriq King is going to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility and return to Miami. Even former Trojan JT Daniels, now with Georgia, could be a top Heisman candidate.
Still, fans should be excited for Slovis next season. If the players are able to get some modicum of normalcy in practices and preparation for games, the Trojans should be in a position to have a great season. Slovis can build a Heisman run on that.