Sources: Jake Retzlaff will replace an ailing Kedon Slovis as BYU’s starting QB against West Virginia
Multiple sources confirmed to the Deseret News on Thursday that the junior college transfer will get his first Division I start
Multiple sources have confirmed to the Deseret News that junior college transfer Jake Retzlaff will be BYU’s starting quarterback against West Virginia on Saturday in the Big 12 clash in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“I feel very comfortable. I feel like I can go out there and play, and run our offense very effectively. I feel like I can do anything (coaches) ask me to do.” — BYU backup quarterback Jake Retzlaff to ESPN 960 Sports radio
Pitt transfer Kedon Slovis has started 5-3 in BYU’s first eight games, but he has been “dinged up a bit,” according to one source with direct knowledge of the situation, and Retzlaff has been getting first-team reps the majority of the week.
The same source stressed that Slovis is legitimately ailing and that this is not a demotion.
The change was first reported early Thursday afternoon by a reporter for BYU’s student newspaper, The Daily Universe, via a tweet on X, but it was later deleted. The Salt Lake Tribune reported the change a few hours later, citing unnamed multiple sources.
BYU’s team flew to West Virginia on Thursday, and Slovis was on the flight, sources confirmed, noting that it is probable that the fifth-year senior will dress and be available in an emergency situation.
Slovis was hit hard several times in BYU’s 35-6 loss at No. 7 Texas last Saturday, including in the third quarter when he was scrambling for a touchdown and flipped head-over-heels inside the 5-yard line on third down.
He was strip-sacked later in the game, after having thrown two interceptions.
After the game, head coach Kalani Sitake was asked if he ever thought about pulling Slovis in the game and inserting another quarterback. The answer was no.
“I think everybody thinks the easy answer is just to get another quarterback in there,” Sitake responded. “How about let’s just protect for him first? And you know, give him a chance. When he is getting hit, that’s not his fault. We had issues in protection breakdown. He was managing the game the way we wanted him to.”
Retzlaff played his freshman season at Golden West (California) College, and his sophomore season at Riverside (California) City College, where he was ranked the No. 1 junior college QB in the country in ESPN’s Junior College 50, and the No. 46 player overall.
Retzlaff is of the Jewish faith and has described himself as the “BY-Jew” on several occasions.
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick has said that Retzlaff was unquestionably the best junior college QB in the country last year. He completed 312 of 493 passes for 4,596 yards and 44 touchdowns with an efficiency rating of 165.4 in 2022.
Cougars on the air
BYU (2-3, 5-3)
at West Virginia (3-2, 5-3)
Saturday, 5 p.m. MDT
Milan Puskar Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM
“I feel very comfortable. I feel like I can go out there and play, and run our offense very effectively,” he told ESPN 960 Sports on Tuesday. “I feel like I can do anything (coaches) ask me to do.”
Retzlaff can play in BYU’s final four games, and a bowl game, if the Cougars get into one, and not lose his redshirt year, per relatively new NCAA redshirt rules.