Notre Dame Football: Irish have Heisman candidate with Sam Hartman

Marcus Freeman got his guy. Notre Dame Football will finally have an elite quarterback under center this fall.

It has been nearly two decades since the Fighting Irish had a legitimate Heisman threat at quarterback. For a program as prestigious as Notre Dame it has been disappointing to not have an elite quarterback like the other top programs across the country. Now, in year two of the Marcus Freeman Era, the Irish have added the ACC’s all-time passing touchdowns leader with Sam Hartman who is poised to take the program back to the College Football Playoffs.

Player Profile

  • High School: Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mount Pleasant, SC
  • Height/ Weight: 6’ 1” 210 lbs
  • Recruiting: #32 Pro-Style QB and #767 Player Overall for 2018 class (247 Sports)
  • Transfer Ranking: #1 Transfer QB and #5 player overall for 2023 transfer class (247 Sports)
  • Awards/ Accolades: 107 Touchdown Passes (ACC record), 12,967 passing yards (2nd in ACC History), 21 career 300-yard passing games (ACC Record), 2022 Brian Piccolo Award winner, 2022 Semi-Finalist for Davey O’Brien Award, 2022 Top-10 Finalist for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award


  • Games Played: 48
  • Career Passing Stats: 944 for 1,597 (59%) for 12,967 passing yards, 110 passing touchdowns and 41 interceptions
  • Career Rushing Stats: he has 416 attempts for 856 yards (2.1 yards per carry) with 17 rushing touchdowns
  • 2022 Passing Stats: 270 for 482 (63%) with 38 passing touchdowns and 12 interceptions (with an offensive line that gave up 34 sacks)
  • 2022 Rushing Stats: 102 carries for 129 yards (1.3 yards per carry) and 1 rushing touchdown (sacks hurt this category)

Irish still looking for 8th Heisman

Notre Dame’s Heisman drought is going on 36 years and the last Irish player to hoist the trophy was wide receiver Tim Brown back in 1987. Unfortunately, the program can no longer claim the title of most Heisman trophy winners now that USC has eight (if you include Reggie Bush). It sure would be nice to match that mark with Hartman in 2023, but I would settle for a victory over USC this fall.

Sam Hartman will give Notre Dame their best opportunity for a Heisman quarterback since Brady Quinn in 2006. Certainly, Manti Te’o as a linebacker placed 2nd in the 2012 Heisman Poll, and he would have likely won the award if it wasn’t for Johnny Manziel’s legendary victory over Alabama that season.

The Notre Dame Roster can elevate Hartman

I remember first watching Sam Hartman play back in 2018 when the Irish decided to make the switch from Brandon Wimbush to Ian Book at quarterback on the road at Wake Forest. Then, Hartman was a young, inexperienced quarterback for the Demon Deacons and since then he has become one of the top quarterbacks in college football.

Sam Hartman put up great numbers in Salem, but he will have a better supporting cast around him in South Bend. Last season, Hartman was sacked 34 times while Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne were only sacked 21 times with a better Notre Dame Offensive Line.

The new Irish quarterback will be accompanied by a great group of running backs, each with different skill sets, as well as a young core of tight ends and wide receivers. Notre Dame has had quality quarterbacks like Ian Book who is the all-time wins leader, and fans are appreciative for his time, but never a Heisman-level quarterback since the Charlie Weis era.

Final Thoughts

Undoubtedly, this all looks great on paper, but there is a lot of work to be done. Coming off great recruiting classes and Gator Bowl victory, there is a lot of buzz surrounding this program. Sam Hartman will have the spotlight as Notre Dame’s quarterback, countless big matchups, and the talent around him to make a Heisman campaign this fall.

Hartman must also have the best season of his career if the Fighting Irish want to make the College Football Playoffs, and I believe that he will. Stetson Bennett was an average quarterback most of his career, and a good quarterback in Georgia’s first title run. But, in his age-25 season, Bennett was one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and Hartman can have similar success in his final year.

Fans across the country should be excited to see what the Notre Dame Offense can do with Sam Hartman’s skillset. The matchup with Navy in Ireland cannot come soon enough.

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  1. The excitement around Hartman kind of got lost in all the disappointment with the coaching changes, but he could still have a really big year. He’ll have to win some big games to be in the Heisman conversation, though.

  2. Hartman is going to seriously shock many ND fans…because people have not seen a really good ND QB in such a long time they have no idea what an offense with that might even look like.

    But as far as Hartman making ND into a playoff team? C’mon, dude. Pump the brakes.
    ND is much further away from being one of the country’s elite teams than just one exceptional QB.

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