Mike Elko says Duke has ‘something special’ in QB Riley Leonard

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By Nick Kosko, On3.com

Duke head coach Mike Elko said the team had something special in quarterback Riley Leonard after seeing his performance last season.

Elko wasn’t so sure what he would get in his young quarterback during the 2022 spring portion of practice. But by the time fall camp rolled around, the head coach noticed a difference in the Blue Devils’ signal caller.

Now, Leonard is a known commodity for Duke going into the 2023 season.

“I love him to death but it was not last spring,” Elko said on Sirius XM College Sports Radio. “Honestly what happened was, you know, everything was so new last spring. The football wasn’t great quality. Everyone was learning and everyone was trying to figure everything out. Riley had a phenomenal summer, and probably about a week into fall camp, we knew he was going to be our starter. We were like, ‘Okay, this kid’s in a much different place now than he was in spring.’

“But what we didn’t know, and what I think really separates him, is he’s got such a competitive edge about himself. And then when you get into the big game and the light show and he’s in his first game as a starter and man, does he take off. You’re like okay, this kid has the ability to change his level when he needs to to perform at the right levels at the right times. And that’s when we felt like we had something really special.”

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