Longtime Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman commits to Notre Dame for final season

Sam Hartman will close out his college career at Notre Dame.

Hartman, the longtime starting quarterback at Wake Forest, announced Thursday that he has committed to play for the Fighting Irish for his final season of eligibility.

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Hartman spent five seasons at Wake Forest, playing in 48 total games for the Demon Deacons. He started in 2018 as a true freshman, was the backup to Jamie Newman in 2019 and then moved back into the starting role over the past three seasons.

Hartman played in only four games in 2019, allowing him to take a redshirt for that year. He also has the free year of eligibility the NCAA granted for the 2020 season disrupted by the pandemic. That gives Hartman one last year of eligibility, meaning he will be a sixth-year senior next season at Notre Dame.

It’s a massive pickup for the Irish. Hartman has thrown for 12,967 yards and 110 touchdowns in his college career. His career high came in 2021, when he threw for 4,228 yards and 39 touchdowns to help the Demon Deacons win the ACC Atlantic.

This season, Hartman threw for 3,701 yards, 38 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 63.1% of his attempts. Wake Forest went 8-5 this year, capped off by a win over Missouri in the Gasparilla Bowl.

Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman throws beads to his teammates after being named Most Valuable Player of the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman throws beads to his teammates after being named Most Valuable Player of the Gasparilla Bowl on Dec. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Instead of taking his shot at the NFL, Hartman put his name into the transfer portal following the bowl game. Notre Dame was quickly viewed as the favorite and Hartman made it official following a visit to South Bend on Wednesday and Thursday.

Notre Dame went 9-4 this season, its first under Marcus Freeman. The Irish won six of their last seven games following an ugly 3-3 start to the season. The Irish had some struggles on offense and relied heavily on the ground attack. Tyler Buchner opened the season as the starting quarterback, but he went down with an injury in Week 2. From there, Drew Pyne took over the offense and steadied the ship, throwing for 2,021 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Still, the production from the passing game was lacking and the writing was on the wall that Notre Dame would look to the transfer portal for an upgrade at quarterback. Pyne decided to transfer after the regular season and subsequently landed at Arizona State.

Buchner was able to return from his injury for Notre Dame’s bowl game, a 45-38 win over South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. Buchner threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns and added 61 yards and two scores on the ground in the win. But he also threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

Buchner, a four-star recruit in the 2021 class, has indicated he will stay with the program and compete for the starting job. Still, it’s hard not to view Hartman as the heavy favorite to begin next season as Notre Dame’s starter.

Notably, Wake Forest will visit Notre Dame Stadium on Oct. 28, giving Hartman a chance to face his former school.