Duke football updates Riley Leonard’s status ahead of primetime matchup

Duke football quarterback Riley Leonard (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke football quarterback Riley Leonard (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke football program has updated the status of quarterback Riley Leonard. 

It has been over a week since the Duke football team took the field and lost its first game in agonizing fashion to Notre Dame, 21-14, but more importantly Riley Leonard left the field on crutches and the rest of the season hung in the balance.

Luckily for the Blue Devils, the injury was only diagnosed as a high ankle sprain and there was significant optimism that he would return at some point this season.

Now, No. 17 Duke (4-1, 1-0 ACC) prepares another primetime game at Wallace Wade Stadium and its second conference game of the year against North Carolina State (4-2, 1-1 ACC) but many questions surround the status if its quarterback.

Head coach Mike Elko provided an update on the Alabama native and said that he’s “day-to-day” with the ankle injury as he’s making “really, really strong progress.”

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“He was out throwing the ball around [Monday] morning, we’ll see what happens this weekend,” Elko continued.

Riley Leonard has thrown for 912 yards through five games with three touchdowns and four additional rushing touchdowns.

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If the junior cannot play on Saturday night (8:00p.m. ET, ACC Network), freshman Henry Belin IV will make his first career start despite only playing in two other games this season.

Belin did record a passing attempt against Northwestern but was 8-for-8 with 118 yards and a touchdown against Lafayette. The competition would be much tougher this week against the Wolfpack but the coaching staff is confident the 3-star recruit could get the job done.

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“I do think the outlook for [Riley Leonard] is really positive for the rest of the season, so we’ll see when we can get him back.”

Following its matchup against N.C. State, which will be the first time the Wolfpack play in Durham since 2013, Duke will have back-to-back road games against ranked opponents in No. 4 Florida State (5-0, 3-0 ACC) and No. 14 Louisville (6-0, 3-0 ACC).

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