There’s been smoke on social media for a week now that Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman would enter the transfer portal and land at Notre Dame. On Tuesday, Hartman officially entered the portal and ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported that Notre Dame is his likely destination adding fuel to a social media fire that’s been burning for a week now.
Notre Dame has not been shy about wanting to bring in a transfer quarterback this off-season. Marcus Freeman stated his plans publicly in the wake of the Drew Pyne transfer in December. Freeman was honest with Pyne that Notre Dame would pursue a transfer which prompted Pyne to enter the portal before Notre Dame’e bowl game. Pyne landed at Arizona State, and if Thamel’s report turns out to be true, Notre Dame will have landed a significant upgrade over the player they lost to the portal last month.
Sam Hartman is arguably the best quarterback to enter the portal this cycle. In the Demon Deacons Gasparilla Bowl win over Missouri, Hartman broke the ACC career record for touchdown passes, currently sitting at 110. In 2022 alone, Hartman tossed 38 touchdowns after adding three in Wake Forest’s bowl victory.
Hartman, who has one year of eligibility remaining, completed a career-high 63.1% of his passes for 3,701 yards to go along with those 38 touchdowns. Notre Dame, as a team, threw for 2,399 yards with 22 touchdowns to 8 INTs. Hartman does have 26 combined INTs the past two seasons, but those came on a combined 936 attempts. He also has a combined 77 touchdowns the past two seasons. Notre Dame had 52 over the past two seasons.
While nothing is official in today’s college football until paperwork is completed, this would be a HUGE win for Notre Dame, given the challenges at the quarterback position. Tyler Buchner entered the year as the clear QB1, but after a third major injury cost him the season, his grasp on the position loosened even though he is back for the Gator Bowl and will start on Friday. Pyne was fine as Buchner’s replacement, but his limitations were evident throughout the season, even as his record as a starter was solid.
Notre Dame has had mixed success on the transfer market so far this off-season with a big win with Virginia Tech wide receiver Kaleb Smith and a big swing and miss with Western Michigan DT Braden Fiske, who selected Florida State on Monday. NIL reportedly played a role in Notre Dame losing out on Fiske just as it did in all of Notre Dame’s high-profile losses on the recruiting trail towards the end of the cycle.
Should this one play out differently than the Fiske pursuit, which Notre Dame reportedly led as recently as last week, it would be one of the biggest wins for Freeman on the transfer/recruiting trail. Hartman represents a significant upgrade at the quarterback position for the Irish. He could be of the best Irish quarterbacks in a long time playing behind Notre Dame’s offensive line and with its skill personnel and backfield.