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What to Expect From Sam Hartman as Wake Forest's Starting Quarterback

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Sam Hartman #10 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson will turn to former starting quarterback Sam Hartman as Jamie Newman’s replacement next season. Can Hartman succeed and help Wake Forest compete in the ACC?

Newman transferred to Georgia. Hartman was fourth in the conference in total offense as a true freshman in 2018 before breaking his leg.

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What Hartman Brings to the Table

Sam Hartman has to improve a lot. He displayed flashes of brilliance in 2018 but there’s a reason why Jamie Newman took his job. Hartman has to be more accurate and take better care of the ball. Also, he is not a running threat like Newman.

Having Sage Surratt will help a lot. Surratt was playing like an All-American last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury after just nine games. The star wideout caught 66 passes for 1,001 yard and 11 touchdowns in those nine contests and he was the only Power 5 player with more than 1,000 yards so early in the season. He passed on the NFL for one more year at Wake Forest and that decision will benefit both parties.

Donavon Greene, their top recruit last year, stepped up in the last four games, catching 13 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns and he’ll also play a big role in the offense. Surratt and Greene have to become Hartman’s favorite targets.

Hartman completed 161 of 291 passes for 1,984 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions in nine games as a freshman. He had a 55.3 completion percentage and he also ran for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 107 carries. BetOnline set Wake Forest’s season win total at 6.5 (Under 6.5 wins is at -120). The Over is at -110.

What Was Lost on Offense

Wake Forest will also be without Kendall Hinton, who made 73 receptions for 1,001 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. The rushing game not only loses Newman. Cade Carney, who ran for 620 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games as a senior, will be missed as well.

Christian Beal-Smith is the one who will be thrust into the leading running back role. He was suspended for part of last season and he will have a chance to prove his worth. Kenneth Walker III, who averaged 5.9 yards per carry as a true freshman, can also help on the ground. His pass block has to improve though.

The returning offensive linemen have made 28 career starts. Grad transfer Terrance Davis, a former four-star recruit, is expected to lead that group. Davis has started 31 games for Maryland but he dealt with many injuries. If healthy he can be very effective though.

Not the Same Sam Hartman

Harman is the former star of QB1: Beyond the Lights on Netflix, along Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Re-al Mitchell, who recently transferred from Iowa State to Temple. He played well as a true freshman in 2018 but lost his starting job to Newman last fall.

He may not be the reason why Newman decided to transfer to Georgia but this is his opportunity to truly break out at Wake Forest. Sam Hartman was the starting quarterback 18 months ago, when he was much different.

Sam Hartman started the first nine games in 2018 before a broken bone in his leg ended his season. Hartman played in just four games last year. This meant that he retained a redshirt. He led the team to a 22-20 home win against Florida State on October 19th and he almost helped Wake Forest come from behind against Louisville and Syracuse.

What he went through last season along with a lunch with head coach Dave Clawson, molded Hartman into the player who will be under center for Wake Forest next season.

“I think everything has kind of changed,” Hartman told Conor O’Neill of the Winston-Salem Journal. “Really, last year I learned so much, just about finding myself and finding who I am and who I want to be with my legacy here at Wake Forest. When I graduate, what are they going to say?”

Hartman was critical of the nine interceptions he threw during his freshman season.

“That freshman year was tough, made a lot of mistakes and was very hard to watch sometimes,” Hartman explained.

The signal-caller knows that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Harman seems ready to step up to the challenge and make the most of this unique second-chance he is getting:

“Less turnovers, less really dumb plays that everyone makes you go, ‘Why the hell is he playing?’ I’m not kidding, but I am kidding,” Hartman laughed. “I think that’s the biggest thing, the mistakes; the big, costly mistakes that occurred on multiple occasions during the season, limiting those, and I think that’ll be a big part of it.”