It’s time we gave Wake Forest some love in our series. Specially I want to focus on the Demon Deacon’s quarterback, Sam Hartman. Hartman took over as the starting quarterback for the 2020 season. Jamie Newman had been the Demon Deacons quarterback but opted to transfer to Georgia and then sat out the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. FanDuel currently lists Hartman’s odds to win the Heisman at +8000 which ties him for 16th on the list but do not be surprised if he finds himself in New York at the end of the season.
The 2020 season for Hartman was nothing to be excited about. The quarterback completed only 58.2% of his passes and threw for 2,224 yards. He also only threw 13 touchdowns in nine games. Hartman’s adjusted QB rating was 63.9 which ranked 58th in the country. His worst game of the season came in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl against Wisconsin. Hartman threw four interceptions in a 42-28 loss. All four interceptions came on consecutive drives. Wisconsin and Wake Forest were tied when Hartman threw the first interception. The turnovers caused too big of a deficit for Wake Forest to recover.
Hartman would make vast improvements in the 2021 season to become one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC. He would finish the 2021 season ranking 7th in the country in passing yards (4,228 yards), 5th in passing touchdowns (39), and 12th in adjusted QB rating (79.7). Hartman continued to struggle with consistency. When he would struggle, so would Wake Forest. Only three times would Hartman throw more than one interception in a game. The Demon Deacons were 1-2 in those games. The win was a 45-42 defeat of NC State. One of the losses includes the ACC Championship game where Pitt crushed the Demon Deacons and Hartman threw four interceptions.
Hartman will need to work on his decision making and improve ball safety. Wake Forest succeeds when Hartman does but they fail to push past his struggles. Wake Forest’s defense was 88th in opponents points per game. The Demon Deacons need Hartman to be on top of his game each week. Wake Forest’s non-conference games include VMI, Vanderbilt, Army and Liberty which they should all win. A home contest against Clemson awaits them on September 24th. Hartman is 0-2 against Clemson and a win against the Tigers would spark Heisman discussion.