He first appeared in our lives and living rooms in early 2018. However, it’s only as Wake Forest has emerged as the team to beat in the ACC that quarterback Sam Hartman has stepped into the national spotlight as a potential 2022 NFL Draft prospect. High-scoring showdowns complete with gaudy statistics have earned him attention, but what does the Wake Forest QB’s scouting report tell us about his pro potential?
Sam Hartman NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Wake Forest
- Current Year: Redshirt Junior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 208 pounds
Sam Hartman Scouting Report
While all eyes were focused on Oxford, Mississippi, for a clash of potential top quarterbacks between Malik Willis and Matt Corral, another two prospects went into battle as Hartman and Sam Howell dueled it out on Chapel Hill.
Although Howell has been at the forefront of the quarterback conversation, Hartman has not. Yet, should we begin to consider Hartman as a legitimate quarterback prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft? He has the statistical output while guiding a winning team that has elevated prospects in the past. But, what does his scouting report reveal?
Statistical trends are an excellent place to start Hartman’s scouting report. The Wake Forest QB has consistently improved his completion percentage across four seasons in Winston-Salem. Although it has taken him four years to break the 3,000-yard mark (presuming he does this season), a litany of wide receiver drops in historical games was studied, suggesting he could have been even more statistically productive.
Furthermore, Hartman has increased his production as a runner this year. Before this season, he had 5 rushing touchdowns. In 2021 alone, he has 8. The Wake Forest QB has set career-highs in rushing yards and yards per carry too. Hartman’s by no means a dynamic dual-threat. Nevertheless, he can grind out yardage with toughness and also shows the ability to take the opportunity presented to him by the defense to take off up the middle of the field.
Arm talent, competitive toughness, and high character
The footwork that Hartman displays on the run, he puts to good use in the pocket. The Wake Forest QB displays active footwork, allowing him to maneuver well within the pocket. Again, he’ll never be a genuine dual-threat, but this footwork ensures he can succeed as a pocket passer. And as a pocket passer, Hartman displays good arm talent. He routinely puts zip on short throws.
The Demon Deacons product is also accurate in the short and medium areas of the field. While he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the 2022 NFL Draft class, Hartman has shown the ability to put the ball in the bucket on long pass attempts. Additionally, there were some outstanding examples on film of Hartman throwing with touch, timing, and anticipation. Particularly on short throws, he routinely puts the ball in position so that his playmakers can add yardage after the catch.
Finally, Hartman plays the game with competitive toughness and high character. He demonstrates his competitive toughness in two ways. Firstly, as a runner, as mentioned above. Secondly, he stands tough in the pocket and takes a hit while still delivering a pass downfield. Moreover, Hartman is often tasked with acting like a blocker in Wake Forest’s elongated mesh RPO offense.
Furthermore, the Wake Forest QB is a two-time captain for the Demon Deacons, demonstrating his character.
Areas for improvement
Hartman is gaining traction as a Heisman candidate and NFL Draft prospect, and his scouting report reveals some reason as to why. However, it might be time to pump the breaks just a little. We’re not looking at a Joe Burrow or Zach Wilson-esque escalation of stock. While Hartman has some alluring qualities, there are some areas for improvement and a ceiling that will likely limit his draft stock to a Day 3 pick.
While his completion percentage has improved throughout his career, there are still some accuracy issues. There were some overthrows at the intermediate level during the games studied and some examples where the ball was short in deep situations. Additionally, he doesn’t routinely drive the ball to these levels, throwing a more looping ball.
Although he displays impressive footwork to maneuver in the pocket, Hartman doesn’t routinely step up in the pocket to make throws in the same way that Grayson McCall does. The Wake Forest QB frequently struggles to sense pressure or walks straight into it.
Listed at 6’1″ and 208 pounds, Hartman may be deemed undersized by some. Those measurements have already been questioned on social media. While height isn’t a defining factor, it is a concern when you have balls consistently batted down by defensive linemen. There were examples of that for Hartman in more than one game studied.
Sam Hartman Player Profile
Despite being the son of a defensive coach, Hartman made his name on offense at Davidson Day High School. He threw for 2,655 yards and 24 touchdowns while leading Davidson to a state championship as a sophomore. The following year, as a junior, he earned first-team All-State honors by throwing for 3,733 passing yards and 45 touchdowns.
Hartman played that junior season as a Wake Forest commit. A three-star recruit and the 32nd pro-style quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class, he only received offers from the Demon Deacons, Elon, and Charlotte. He committed in July 2016 and never wavered, enrolling at Wake in January 2018.
Yet, it would be his senior high school season that would propel Hartman into the national spotlight. Following the 2016 season, Davidson head coach Chad Grier moved to Oceanside Collegiate School, and Hartman followed him there. Having won a state championship with Davidson in 2015, it was a remarkable change of scenery to a Landsharks team that had gone 0-8 in 2016.
Their attempts to transform the school’s fortunes were played out in front of television cameras from the Netflix documentary series QB1: Beyond The Lights. With the cameras rolling, Hartman delivered 3,093 passing yards, 29 passing touchdowns, and 9 rushing scores. Furthermore, he had multiple games with 6 or more touchdowns while taking Oceanside from 0-8 to 7-3 in the span of a year.
Hartman’s career at Wake Forest
While the show was airing in early 2018, Hartman was preparing for his first season as a freshman QB at Wake Forest. There were few expectations for the young QB, sitting third on the depth chart after spring practices. However, his stock soared through the summer, and when Wake opened the season against Tulane, Hartman was named the starter.
Hartman put on a show, whether it was as a TV sensation in the spring or as a college starter in the summer. In his first start, he threw for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns in an overtime win. Following a 56-24 win over Rice, the Wake Forest QB was named the ACC Rookie of the Week.
In nine starts, Hartman set school records for a freshman quarterback. His seven 200-yard passing games were more than any first-year passer in Wake Forest history, as were his four wins, 16 total touchdowns, and 442 single-game yardage total.
Hartman was on a high, then disaster struck. The Wake Forest QB suffered a broken leg against Syracuse, and his phenomenal freshman campaign was over. Not only was it the end of a promising season, but the injury also threw his entire future with the Demon Deacons into disarray, as Hartman failed to secure the starting role for the 2019 season.
Rebounding from disaster to emerge as an NFL Draft prospect
Although he lost the starting job to Jamie Newman — and Wake Forest embarked on a 5-0 start in 2019 — there were positives to take away from his redshirt season. Hartman saw action in four games, including a 22-20 victory over FSU, the first for the program since 2011. Hartman was also responsible for 21 fourth-quarter points as Wake Forest mounted a comeback from a 55-38 deficit against Lousiville.
Following his performances in that redshirt sophomore campaign and the departure of Newman, Hartman resumed the role of Wake Forest’s starting QB in 2020. The talented redshirt sophomore embarked on a program-record 258 pass attempts streak without throwing an interception. Remarkably, his 5 interceptions on the season came in the final two games of the year.
During the 2020 season, Hartman also threw for a then-career-high 429 yards and 4 touchdowns against North Carolina. It would serve as an appetizer for ascension for both player and program in the 2021 season.
Hartman has been one of the critical successes behind a historic start to the season for the Demon Deacons. The Wake Forest QB currently has career highs for completion percentage (62.5%), passing yards (2,873), touchdowns (27), and yards per attempt (9.5). He threw for a career-high 458 yards in a shootout with Army and followed up with 7 total touchdowns in a tight defeat to UNC.
Can Hartman turn the statistical performance into an NFL Draft selection?
As a result of his performance against Army, Hartman was named the Maxwell Award Player of the Week. While grinding out a win in a close contest, the incredible statistical performance saw the Wake Forest passer named ACC QB of the Week. Hartman was also named to the Davey O’Brien Midseason Watch List and is a semifinalist for the prestigious Maxwell Award.
In an NFL Draft quarterback class that has proved murky, Hartman has naturally earned attention with his performances. While it’s unlikely that he ascends to the early rounds, there is every chance that a team takes a chance on a talented quarterback with a high character in the later rounds.