Riley Leonard unsurprising pick as most impactful Notre Dame newcomer

ESPN has put together a list of the most impactful newcomers to teams like Notre Dame football and Riley Leonard is the most obvious choice.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Riley Leonard watches practice
Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Riley Leonard watches practice / Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame football is gearing up for a playoff run in the 2024 season. To do that, to improve from 2023, Marcus Freeman and company signed several new players to shore up what was already a talented roster

And so, the Notre Dame football staff went out and got Riley Leonard, defensive back Jordan Clark, wide receivers Kris Mitchell, Beaux Collins and Jayden Harrison, edge rusher RJ Oben, defensive back Rod Heard II, and kicker Mitch Jeter.

The anticipation for the 2024 season is palpable, with Notre Dame football being hailed as one of the big winners of the transfer portal. The team has managed to secure a number of potential game-changers, setting the stage for an exciting season.

However, when ESPN put together its list of players that are going to be the biggest impact players, it should surprise no one that the name the sports giant picked as the biggest Notre Dame football contributor is none other than the team's newest quarterback.

Riley Leonard less than shocking as top pick to be biggest impact newcomer

Irish Breakdown went and looked at why ESPN+ believes that Leonard is going to be the big impact player in 2024, despite the fact that he's coming off an injury in 2023 and missed most of this spring and it's about what you'd expect.

"Why: Notre Dame needs strong quarterback play to make a playoff run and Leonard has a chance to be one of its most dynamic dual-threat signal-callers in recent years. Leonard emerged as one of the ACC's top quarterbacks at Duke, leading the Blue Devils to nine wins and a remarkable turnaround in 2022, then an upset of No. 9 Clemson to open 2023. He accounted for 33 touchdowns in 2022, showcasing his dual-threat abilities as a former prep basketball standout. Leonard appeared in just seven games for Duke in 2023 while dealing with a recurring ankle injury."

It's safe to say there isn't a single Notre Dame football fan who hopes ESPN is wrong. If Riley Leonard has a big season, so will the Fighting Irish.