In the closing seconds of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Duke Blue Devils game, junior quarterback and top-10 draft prospect Riley Leonard suffered an ankle injury as he tried to lead his team to a come-from-behind victory in the game’s closing seconds.
Riley Leonard Suffers Ankle Injury vs. Notre Dame
Since the injury happened in the game’s closing seconds, it may be a while before we hear the official word on what the actual injury is. However, based on the video and Leonard’s reaction, he would have very likely been doubtful to return if it had happened any earlier in the game.
Update, 11:30 PM ET (October 1): The following was reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel: “Sources: Early read on Duke QB Riley Leonard’s right ankle injury is that it’s not season ending. Leonard got hurt on a sack late in the Notre Dame game and left the field on crutches after the game. A more specific timeline should emerge in upcoming days.”
Thamel went on to say that that injury is a high ankle sprain, and while the timeline of return isn’t certain, multiple weeks is a likely timeline.
Leonard was stepping up in the pocket on first down, attempting to complete a pass when he was brought down. The Notre Dame defender fell on Leonard’s leg, which ended up snapping back under the weight of the defender.
OH NO. Here’s video of Duke standout QB Riley Leonard hurting his ankle on the game losing play to Notre Dame.
This is a huge loss for Duke, as he’s been one of the best QBs in college so far. 🙏pic.twitter.com/ihe03kuM6G
— Last Take™ (@TheRealLastTake) October 1, 2023
After Leonard was brought to the sideline to be checked out in the medical tent, he left the field on crutches while flanked by numerous medical trainers. Prior to leaving the sideline, Leonard was greeted with a hug from Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman.
In his post-game press conference, Hartman said, “He played a hell of a game. He’s a hell of a player. Just got to keep going.”
Leonard finished the game 12 of 27 for 134 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. He added an impressive 88 yards on the ground on 18 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per rush.
When evaluating the top quarterbacks in the 2024 NFL Draft, PFN Draft Analyst Ian Cummings says that Leonard is one of the most intriguing players in this class.
In his first year as a full-time starter with the Blue Devils, Leonard threw for 2,967 yards, 20 touchdowns, and six interceptions, and the 6’4″, 209-pound passer also ran for 699 yards and 13 scores.
Cummings says that it is a natural comparison to draw between him and former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, given that they attended the same school. However, Cummings notes there are moments when Leonard appears to be an improved iteration of Jones.
With a superior arm and exceptional athleticism, he can astound adversaries with his ability to create plays.
We’ll continue to update this article as we learn more information.
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