Three-star 2021 quarterback Riley Leonard committed to Duke in mid-May, after starting the month with an explosion of offers from schools such as Vanderbilt, Syracuse and Nebraska. That was spurred on by his high school coach and personal quarterback coach reaching out to contacts in college football to pass along his highlight film.
“I think this outbreak helped me a little bit, to get my film out there,” Leonard said in an exclusive interview with Blue Devil Country. You can read and hear part one of his interview here. “All coaches can do right now is watch film. Having a basketball tape (helped). Actually, most of the football coaches that texted me said they saw my basketball tape first, and they were impressed with that. Going from a little (bit of interest) to Power Five schools, it’s a blessing. I thank the Lord every day for it. I wouldn’t be able to do it without him. My parents and I, we’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. I’m glad it came through.”
Leonard also starred in basketball at Fairhope High in Alabama and received several mid-major scholarship offers. Does that mean he’s a candidate to walk on for Coach K?
“Somebody mentioned that to me,” he said. “I told them that’s the best compliment I’ve ever gotten in my life. If Coach Cut lets me, maybe my sophomore year, once I get to know football and get to know the offense. It’s a long shot, for sure, especially at Duke. Who knows? If I’ve still got it by then, and Coach K wants to give me a shot, who knows? I may end up trying it.”
Leonard combines running ability with an accurate passing arm, but when asked to self-scout, he focused on another factor.
“I like to win,” he said. “I will win. I’m a competitor. I’ll do whatever it takes to win. I don’t really care about anything else. I want to win and do it the best way I can. That’s all I got.
Leonard became the second 2021 quarterback to commit, following Jordan Moore. He’s not worried about the competition.
“Me and Jordan, we’re in a group chat together with other recruits,” he said. “He’s a good guy. He’s a super athlete. Coach Cut said he’s going to give him (a shot at) the quarterback spot, just like me. I like that. He’s a cool guy. We’re close friends already. I’m excited for him, and I’m excited to meet all the other guys in person.”