The Notre Dame football team had a void at the quarterback position heading into the 2024 season.
After spending the first five years of his college football career at Wake Forest, senior quarterback Sam Hartman appears to have played his final game for the Fighting Irish. Hartman is not expected to suit up when Notre Dame takes on Oregon State in the Sun Bowl later this month.
But the Fighting Irish received some significant news this week on the quarterback front when Riley Leonard of Duke announced his decision to transfer to Notre Dame. Leonard will be eligible to play immediately.
The quarterback took to social media Tuesday to confirm his decision, describing the move as “a dream come true.”
Leonard is coming off a solid stint in Durham, North Carolina, and was believed to be one of Notre Dame’s top targets in the transfer portal.
Leonard does have some connections to the Fighting Irish. His great-grandfather, James E. Curran, played at Notre Dame.
Leonard will likely be the starting quarterback once the 2024 season kicks off. Leonard spearheaded a major turnaround for the Duke football team in 2022. He finished that year with 20 passing touchdowns, and Duke went 9-4 and won a bowl game.
Leonard dealt with injuries this past season. He was initially injured in a game against Notre Dame and was was not able to finish the season after he injured his toe against Louisville. Leonard appeared in seven games in 2023, finishing with just over 1,100 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Leonard finished his Duke career with a 13-8 overall record. Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman will likely need to find a couple of reliable wide receivers for Leonard. Notre Dame recently parted ways with receivers coach Chansi Stuckey after a disappointing showing from the position group.