Notre Dame football: Riley Leonard matches up among best Heisman contenders

While some doubt whether Riley Leonard can even be healthy in 2024, others believe the Notre Dame footbal star will be a real Heisman contender.

Is Riley Leonard ready to lead the Notre Dame football team to the playoffs? Most people say yes. Does that mean he might be a Heisman contender? That question is an interesting one. At least some analysts believe the answer to that question is also, yes.

On3’s Jesse Simonton published an article Friday with his top 10 Heisman Trophy candidates ahead of the 2024 season, and it included Notre Dame quarterback Riley Leonard. Some might find that a bit surprising. After all, it’s not clear whether the former Duke transfer is fully healthy yet.

Even if he is healthy now, there’s some doubts as to whether the starting quarterback for the Notre Dame football team can stay healthy over the grind of a full season on that ankle. But if he does, Simonton expects him to be one of the best players in the game.

Notre Dame football quarterback Riley Leonard among top Heisman candidates

Leonard, who has one year of eligibility left after a few seasons at Duke, was listed at No. 7 on Simonton’s list.

“Leonard could be a sneaky dark horse candidate in 2024, as the former Duke player will now be in the spotlight playing quarterback for one of the most popular brands in the sport,” Simonton wrote.

“He definitely must see a huge uptick in production after totaling just seven touchdowns in an injury-riddled 2023 season, but Leonard will be surrounded by much better talent (especially at offensive line and receiver). Leonard did have 33 total touchdowns in 2022 when he led the Blue Devils to one of their best seasons in school history. If he leads the Irish back to the CFP, then he’ll be on the shortlist of candidates with a spot in New York City.”

If Leonard stays healthy, he will of course be better than the seven touchdowns he had last season. If he stays healthy, and that if is still a big one, it could be a sight to see for Notre Dame football.