Kedon Slovis was recruited to BYU by the quarterback he will replace, and by the quarterback who replaced him, and by the quarterback who coached all three of them. Yes, Jaren Hall, Zach Wilson and John Beck each played a key role in getting the former USC and Pitt QB to Provo.

“I told my dad, ‘I feel good about this place. I know I can have success here.’’’ — Kedon Slovis after his official visit to BYU

“Early in the process, John called and said ‘It’s BYU. You probably don’t know a lot about them, but I think you have a good opportunity coming up,” Slovis told “BYU SportsNation” in his first interview since leaving Pittsburgh and committing to BYU through the transfer portal. “He really laid the groundwork for my relationship with BYU.”

Slovis, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, came to know Beck through Wilson. The Cougars had just finished the 2020 season with an impressive 11-1 record and Wilson had skyrocketed up the NFL draft boards.

“I reached out to Zach to see who he had been working with,” Slovis said. Wilson connected him with Beck and together they worked on improving his throwing mechanics after a series of shoulder problems.

It was through Beck’s offseason workouts where Slovis connected with Hall.

“I was throwing with Jaren last summer and a few of the guys came out,” Slovis said. “When I came on my official visit, Kody (Epps) spent a lot of time with me, recruiting me hard and texting me all the time. Same with Isaac (Rex).”

Impressed at practice

Slovis and his parents visited BYU’s practice the week before the New Mexico Bowl. He was impressed with what he saw.

“I told my dad, ‘I feel good about this place. I know I can have success here,’’’ Slovis said. After doing his due diligence, studying the returning talent and the type of offenses that BYU and the other interested schools provided, he concluded, “The more I went through it, the more it became apparent that BYU was the one I want.”

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One week later, the decision was made. Slovis said he chose BYU because the Cougars throw the ball, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick can prepare him for the NFL, just as he did for Wilson and Hall, and that BYU will be playing in the Big 12 next fall.

“I think there is a sense of urgency from the staff and the players, knowing that the jump to the Big 12 is gonna be a huge year for everyone and lay the foundation for years to come,” Slovis said. “I think that sense of urgency, whether they knew it or not, it was really felt from my end and that’s what I wanted with my last year of eligibility.”

Hall closes the deal

Hall’s last game at BYU ended with a high ankle sprain in the fourth quarter at Stanford on Nov. 26. In the four weeks following the game, he did little to publicly tip his hand on whether he would return for his final year or enter the NFL draft. Behind the scenes, however, Hall was busy recruiting his replacement.

“I felt really good about BYU but you always want a player’s perspective,” Slovis said. “Hearing from (Hall) and feeling his confidence with it, understanding the circumstances, what we are going to have to work on and how I can contribute to make the team better in the offseason, just getting his perspective made me more positive about the situation.”

Hall even held off on making his announcement until Slovis was ready to make his.

“Credit to Jaren. He helped me out. I was pretty certain it was going to be BYU, but he held off a day or so while I got my announcement ready,” Slovis said. “I kinda knew before everyone else, but I’m grateful for him for allowing me to do that so there wouldn’t be a delay from the old quarterback to the new one.”

Hall declared his draft intentions on Dec. 23 and Slovis revealed his transfer plan a short time later. He will arrive in Provo on Jan. 5 and expects to start throwing to his new group of receivers immediately.

“I can guarantee that you are going to get my all,” Slovis said. “This is my last year of eligibility. It means a lot to me just to have the opportunity to play another year of college football. You are going to get everything I have. We have high goals and high aspirations. We are really motivated to have a lot of success in the Big 12 and you are going to see it on the field.”

Ice-cream impression

Slovis made his LaVell Edwards Stadium debut as USC’s starting quarterback on a hot, sunny afternoon in September 2019. The Trojans were in a dogfight against BYU in the third quarter when a representative from alumni relations handed Max and Lisa Slovis, and the other visiting Trojans fans, some BYU Creamery ice cream.

It must have hit the spot. Their son didn’t win the game, but the frozen treat left an impression.

“My dad was talking about how ‘that’s the cleanest stadium I’ve ever been in, and they bring ice cream to the opposing fans,’” Slovis said. “He fell in love with the place. That was the thing I took away from playing against BYU was how nice the fans were and how great of an environment it is to play in Provo.”

While credit goes to head coach Kalani Sitake, Roderick, the history of the football program and former quarterbacks Beck, Wilson and Hall for landing Slovis — the fans and the ice cream must also get their due.  

When Max and Lisa return to the stadium on Sept. 3 for BYU’s home opener against Sam Houston, things will be noticeably different. Their son will still be the quarterback, but this time, more than 62,000 fans will be cheering for him instead of against him, and the Slovises will be dressed in blue. 

Never doubt the magic of free ice cream.

Pittsburgh quarterback Kedon Slovis passes against Virginia during game in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022. | Mike Kropf, Associated Press

Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day,” “The Post Game Show,” “After Further Review,” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also co-host of “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com.