Duke star quarterback Riley Leonard could return for Week 8's road trip to No. 4 Florida State. Mike Elko, coach of the No. 16 Blue Devils, said this week that Leonard is "day to day" recovering from a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss a Week 7 victory over NC State.
"I've said this to everybody, we will not put him in position to put that ankle at risk," Elko said on his weekly radio show. "But I do think there is a chance we're able to get him back healthy on Saturday and able to be playing at the level he's capable of playing."
Leonard landed awkwardly on his ankle on the last play of the Blue Devils' 21-14 loss against Notre Dame on Sept. 30. The star signal-caller was on crutches after the game.
The junior from Fairhope, Alabama, has been a critical part of Duke's incredible rise over the past two seasons. In 18 starts, Leonard has 3,879 yards passing and 1,025 yards rushing with 40 total touchdowns. In a 28-7 upset victory over Clemson, Leonard threw for 175 yards and rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown.
With Leonard sidelined, Duke started Henry Belin IV against NC State. The freshman completed just 4 of 12 passes but threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns -- 69 of which went to Jalon Calhoun on a breakaway touchdown -- in a 24-3 victory. However, Leonard adds a different level of consistency at the position. Leonard is a top-50 player and the No. 6 quarterback in the CBS Sports NFL Draft Prospect Rankings. He hopes to join New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones as the only quarterbacks in Duke history to be selected in the first round.
The pedigree that Riley brings as one of the top signal-callers in the ACC is worth preparing for -- a challenge for the 14-point favorite Seminoles, per SportsLine consensus.
"I know [Leonard] went through pregame in the last game, just wasn't quite ready to go. We're going to prepare for him," said Florida State coach Mike Norvell.