It seemed like a bold prediction for Oceanside Collegiate head coach Chad Grier to make at the time.
That is, unless you really know Sam Hartman like Grier does.
“Passer, leader, coach on the field, pre-snap reads, movement keys, incredibly accurate,” Grier said. “All reasons why I really believe Sam has a legitimate chance to be on the field as a freshman next year at Wake, and early.”
Hartman will start at quarterback for Wake Forest when the Deacons open their season at Tulane on Aug. 30 in New Orleans, according to the Deacon’s depth chart revealed Thursday afternoon.
The true freshman has been locked in a two-man competition for the Deacons’ starting spot with redshirt sophomore Jamie Newman since June 14, when it was announced that expected starter Kendall Hinton was suspended the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules.
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson maintained throughout camp that the race between Hartman and Newman was tight. Hartman received the start in the Deacons’ second, and final, scrimmage of fall camp last Saturday.
Hartman finished the day 14-of-25 passing for 96 yards while rushing for 21 more, leading the first-team offense on a 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive on the scrimmage’s opening series..
Newman passed for 131 yards and two scores in the scrimmage, but sustained a leg injury that kept him sidelined during the second half and then the first two days of practice the following week. Hartman received every first-team rep with Newman sidelined on Monday.
“I’ll go back and say that other than John Wolford a year ago in camp, these might be the best two camp performances we’ve had from quarterbacks,” Clawson said Monday. “They’re both ahead of where I thought they would be, really. They’re both a level up of where I thought they were. ... but, obviously, if a guy misses time, if he’s going to miss some practices, that’s going to play into the decision.”
Hartman led the state in passing most of last season — his only at Oceanside — finishing with more than 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns in just 10 games. He threw for more than 9,400 yards and scored 109 touchdowns through his final three years of high school. He would be the state’s all-time leader in touchdown passes had he not spent his first three seasons of high school in North Carolina. He closed his prep career with offensive MVP honors at the Shrine Bowl all-star game before enrolling early at Wake Forest in January.