Riley Leonard landing spots: Notre Dame among possible transfer destinations for Duke QB

Duke starting quarterback Riley Leonard has entered the transfer portal following head coach Mike Elko’s departure to Texas A&M.

Landing a quarterback like Leonard will be a major accomplishment for whichever program snags him as he was considered a potential early first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft before suffering a season-ending foot injury he said he underwent surgery for around early November.

Leonard finished out the season with a 57.6% completion rate, passing for 1,102 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as he consistently battled through injuries. He also ran for four touchdowns.

At full capacity, Leonard is a versatile quarterback prospect who should be a productive Power 5 starter again in 2024.

MORE: Transfer portal QB tracker 2023: Tyler Van Dyke, Will Howard on the move

Tangibly, I think that there’s not much of my game that is lacking and there’s nothing I feel that I can’t do as a quarterback,” Leonard told SN in June. “I think any given week, depending on who we’re playing, I can find a way to play well against that defense.”

His mobility and improvisation ability shone through in 2022 as the second-year player finished the season with 124 carries for 699 yards with 13 touchdowns on the ground.

“Earlier in the season when people didn’t think I could run, I was able to use my legs,” Leonard said. “They definitely took more note of that later on.”

Here’s a look into three spots that could make the most sense for Leonard. 

MORE: Will Arch Manning leave Texas if Quinn Ewers stays?

Riley Leonard landing spots

Notre Dame

As far as speculation is concerned, Leonard has been linked to no school more than he has been to Notre Dame. It should also be noted that Leonard recently followed multiple Fighting Irish players on Instagram, which gives a strong indication he could be headed to the state of Indiana.

Marcus Freeman hit a home run in getting Sam Hartman to transfer from Wake Forest, but this would be an even bigger get. Pete Thamel of ESPN has also reported strong interest from Notre Dame in Leonard.

Auburn

Auburn was in the mix with almost too many transfer portal quarterbacks to count ahead of the 2023 season, ultimately bringing in Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne. While Thorne has had his bright moments, Auburn has had a bit of a revolving door at the quarterback position recently, failing to capitalize on Bo Nix’s talents that Oregon made fine use of.

In the Hugh Freeze era, the Tigers seem to be moving in the right direction, falling just short of a huge upset win over Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

Leonard has ties to Alabama, attending Fairhope High School in Fairhope, Alabama, where he also recently hosted his own camp.

Miami (Fla.)

Mario Cristobal and the Hurricanes could look to the portal for their next quarterback with the departure of veteran Tyler Van Dyke, who was among the first quarterbacks to enter the transfer portal.

According to a source, the Hurricanes were heavily interested in Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers, who is also in the portal now, ahead of the 2023 season. If Tyler Van Dyke had transferred to Alabama, Rogers there’s a strong chance Rogers was headed to Miami. The Hurricanes could pursue Rogers again but could also pursue other options like Leonard, who would elevate the play of the offense.

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