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Quarterback Riley Leonard Undergoes Surgery on Injured Ankle

Riley Leonard

New Notre Dame quarterback Riley Leonard underwent ankle surgery earlier this month, On3 reported on Tuesday. The operation was on the same right ankle that Leonard injured in the waning minutes of a 21-14 loss to Notre Dame on Sept. 30. The procedure reportedly took place two weeks ago. As a result, Leonard will miss winter workouts as he recovers.

The operation is believed to be similar in scope to the surgery performed on former Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa in 2018. Tagovailoa played four weeks later in the College Football Playoff. If a similar timeline applies to Leonard, a return to football activities could happen as soon as February. In all likelihood, Leonard should be ready to go at the start of spring practices in March. The start date for spring ball has not been released yet.

Steve Angeli Waiting in the Wings

The good news for the Irish is that they still have junior Steve Angeli waiting in the wings. While Leonard is widely considered QB1, Angeli will welcome more No. 1 reps if Leonard is unable to participate in spring practices. Notre Dame also has sophomore Kenny Minchey, and freshman CJ Carr poised to step up if Leonard’s absence is longer than expected. Angeli is coming off a strong performance in the Sun Bowl. Making the first start of his career, Angeli led the Irish to a 40-8 runaway victory over Oregon State. Utilizing his arm and his legs, Angeli kept the Irish offense in overdrive from start to finish. Angeli went 15-for-19 for 232 yards in the Sun Bowl, throwing three touchdown passes.

Riley Leonard, a transfer portal acquisition for Notre Dame, accumulated a 13-8 record as a starter at Duke. The dual-threat quarterback enjoyed his best season in 2022. That year, he threw for 2,967 yards with 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He also ran for 699 yards and 13 touchdowns. In his injury-riddled season in 2023, Leonard threw for just two touchdowns and 1,102 yards.

 

Riley Leonard
Photo courtesy: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

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