So, BYU went to free agency and picked up former Pitt and USC quarterback Kedon Slovis?

It does make for an interesting spring camp as the Cougars prepare to compete in the Big 12.

The signing of Slovis and other transfers signals myriad moves by BYU heading into Power Five conference membership. The transfer portal allows BYU to recruit differently, getting immediate help alongside its high school program that tends to get prospects that won’t play for three or four years due to church missionary service. It’s not an idea, it is a necessity.

BYU’s experience with transfer QBs is limited but the most successful was Steve Sarkisian from El Camino Community College in 1995. His first year ended with an NCAA record for pass percentage against Fresno State. His second year ended in a win over Texas A&M, 14 wins and a Cotton Bowl victory.

If BYU can get one solid year out of Slovis like it got during Sarkisian’s senior season, the school would have struck gold. Slovis is far more experienced than Sarkisian was when he transferred to Provo.

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Regardless of what has happened with Zach Wilson in New York, you’ve got to hand it to offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick. He’s had a nifty little run with Wilson, Jaren Hall and New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters in the college football realm.

They’ve been gamers. Wilson and Hall displayed elite arm strength and mobility, skills that fit what Roderick is trying to achieve with his aggressive pass game.

Getting Slovis sets up Roderick with some flexibility. It also signals BYU’s dip into the crazy transfer portal that’s become the answer for so many programs.  

Remember how Kansas State won the Big 12 with transfers? You must credit Utah State’s  2021 Mountain West championship with how head coach Blake Anderson optimized the portal.

I wouldn’t give up on the other QBs, guys like Cade Fennegan and Nick Billoups, and Maiava-Peters should be groomed as a utility QB.

Slovis is an excellent piece of the 2023 puzzle. He’s experienced. He’s a proven quarterback that reads defenses. He’s mobile and has elite arm strength.

Roderick needs QBs with strong arms to effectively run his schemes. He likes to isolate receivers deep and stretch the field.

With Maiava-Peters, he could inject a few wildcat plays for the soon-to-be sophomore and run the triple option on occasion just for fun. Forcing Big 12 defenses to spend prep time working on that little wrinkle would push some positive buttons during the week.

Roderick on Slovis: “Kedon is an effortless passer, great leader and one of the most accurate quarterbacks in college football. From a distance I’ve enjoyed watching his calm demeanor, always poised, never too high or low. I’ve been so impressed with his methodical approach to his decisions. I can’t wait for him to join us in January.”

Over the Christmas holiday, I asked a few veteran coaches to review tapes of Slovis and tell me who he reminds them of. One looked at his release, pocket presence and arm strength on a series of plays during his seasons with USC and Pitt and he immediately said Drew Brees, a former NFL vet now an assistant coach at Purdue.

Observers are not suggesting that he is another Drew Brees, but his throwing motion does remind some knowledgeable coaches of how Brees throws the ball. 

Slovis has completed 836 of 1,268 passes for a completion percentage of 65.9% during his college career. He has thrown for 68 touchdowns and has amassed 9,973 passing yards, which ranks No. 13 among active quarterbacks in the FBS.

BYU is lucky to sign Slovis.

The Big 12 is a big offense league, where teams chase points. Defenses are a little scarce and often get pushed around. With TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, you have some juggernaut offenses. If Texas and Oklahoma stick around for a season or two, you have some of the top talent in the country on the field on offense.

Slovis should fit the bill for Roderick.

Stay tuned.

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis looks to throw during game against Arizona Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Los Angeles. The erstwhile Trojan and Pitt Panther announced last week that he is taking his game to Provo, Utah, and will be part of the BYU football that begins Big 12 play next season. | Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press