Why Did Sam Hartman Transfer to Notre Dame? Collegiate Star Sought Out Opportunity

    Why did Sam Hartman transfer from Wake Forest to Notre Dame? For Hartman, it was about proving more to evaluators and accomplishing more at the CFB level.

    Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB Sam Hartman was a proven producer with years of experience at Wake Forest.

    Why did he transfer and join up with the Fighting Irish in 2023?

    Why Did Sam Hartman Transfer to Notre Dame in 2023?

    Sam Hartman ended his five-year career with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons as one of college football’s all-time leading passers. He led the Deacons to an ACC Championship appearance in 2021 and two bowl victories.

    Hartman battled through injuries, showcased his resilience and leadership, produced at a high level, and led Wake Forest to a heightened degree of success. So why did he transfer in 2023 rather than declare for the 2023 NFL Draft?

    Hartman will be a 25-year-old rookie, so he would’ve had some incentive to declare in 2023 to avoid pushing his timeline any further. But at the same time, Hartman had more to prove — both as a college football player and a 2024 NFL Draft prospect, and Notre Dame provided the optimal setting to do so.

    MORE: Transfer Portal Tracker

    As a prospect, Hartman’s best path forward in the NFL will likely be as a backup, given his advanced age and lack of elite physical tools. He seemed to understand that in the 2023 offseason, and he wanted to show teams he could succeed in new surroundings.

    “This is what you have to do when you go into the league, is come into a new place where there’s not a lot of familiar faces,” Hartman said after making the move to Notre Dame, per the Associated Press.

    Backups at the NFL level often follow a journeyman’s path, taking short contracts wherever they’re needed to provide security. Hartman, with his move to Notre Dame, aimed to prove he could do just that.

    But at the same time, the move was just as much about Notre Dame itself and what the school had to offer Hartman — both in terms of resources and opportunities.

    “It’s different,” Hartman said of Notre Dame, also via the AP. “It’s special here. There’s a lot of eyes [on you], which is pretty obvious at this point. I think you never really know until you’re out of it what it means to be in this position. Just as much as I can, I’m trying to soak it in. It’s a high-pressure, pivotal season for myself and more than myself — this team and this university.”

    Notre Dame entered the year with playoff aspirations, and Hartman was seen by many as the completing piece for a roster with NFL talent on both sides of the ball.

    Did Hartman Accomplish What He Set Out to With Fighting Irish?

    Looking back now, with the 2023 college football regular season nearing its conclusion, did Hartman achieve what he sought to at Notre Dame — proving he could thrive in a new environment while attaining greater team success?

    The answer, as it turns out, is a mix of yes and no. Hartman has been productive with the Fighting Irish, with 2,272 yards, 18 touchdowns, and seven picks through ten games — but he hasn’t been quite as consistent or as averse to turnovers as he was at Wake Forest.

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    In a similar fashion, Notre Dame as a team has been moderately successful, but also not to the degree they’d hoped to be before the season. The Fighting Irish did score a major win against Caleb Williams and USC, but they also have three losses against Ohio State, Clemson, and Louisville.

    At 7-3, the Fighting Irish are out of playoff contention and on the fringe for a New Year’s Six bowl game. Thus, in a high-pressure and pivotal season, they’ve perhaps sunk below expectations a bit.

    Nevertheless, looking at Hartman as a CFB competitor and eventual NFL passer, he’s proven enough to carry on his career at the next level. He’s tough, poised, and capable of maintaining his level of play amidst change. Proving that wouldn’t have been possible without moving to Notre Dame.

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