Skip to main content

Newsstand: Notre Dame quarterback Riley Leonard named ‘dark-horse’ Heisman candidate

IMG_7504by:Jack Soble05/22/24


On Tuesday morning, Pro Football Focus college football analyst Mitch Kaiser published a list of five Heisman Trophy candidates to watch entering the 2024 season. No. 5 was Notre Dame senior quarterback Riley Leonard.

Leonard joined four other quarterbacks — Georgia’s Carson Beck, Texas’ Quinn Ewers, Oregon’s Dillon Gabriel and Alabama’s Jalen Milroe — as PFF’s early Heisman contenders.

“The biggest dark-horse candidate on this list is the incoming Fighting Irish transfer from Duke, Riley Leonard,” Kaiser wrote.

Kaiser’s case centers around Leonard’s talent and his situation. At Notre Dame, Leonard will (at least on paper) throw behind a stronger offensive line and to better wide receivers than he did at Duke. With that comes a chance to rebuild his NFL draft stock after an injury-plagued 2023 season, which was a major factor in his decision to join the Irish.

“We all know how Leonard can affect the game on the ground, as he averaged 7.3 yards per carry last fall,” Kaiser wrote. “His 86.5 rushing grade was second only to last year’s Heisman winner, Jayden Daniels.”

“However, his greatest impact will have to come as a passer if he truly wants to play quarterback at the next level and bring the Irish back to glory. Leonard threw the ball only 167 times on 201 dropbacks last season. We will certainly need to see him air it out more if he wants to win the Heisman.”

FanDuel gives Leonard +2000 odds to win the Heisman.

For Kaiser’s full story, click here.

Notre Dame Tweets of the day

The Irish are killing it in the WNBA.

Markus Burton: Officially back.

Notre Dame men’s lacrosse needs two more wins to go back-to-back.

Quote of the day

“They see me bouncing around those [interior defensive line] positions. They’re comparing me to Rylie MillsHopefully, I can get to that size and be that athletic guy that I need.”

— Cincinnati St. Xavier defensive lineman Gordy Sulfsted, who committed to Notre Dame in the class of 2025 on May 19.

Headlines of the day

You may also like