The last time Clemson faced Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman it was not a good day for the Demon Deacons’ quarterback.
Hartman completed just 7-of-20 passes for 74 yards and was intercepted once. He also carried the ball eight times, but he did not net anything positive, rushing for minus-8 yards in a 63-3 loss to the Tigers.
However, that was two years ago when Hartman was just a freshman. Though he led the ACC in total offense prior to the 2018 game, Clemson’s defense was the first real test of his career and as proven, he did not fair too well.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables knows the Tigers will see a more seasoned quarterback this time around, a veteran who has overcome a broken leg and losing his job, only to bounce back and become the starting quarterback again this year.
“He is a tough guy,” Venables said. “He is very competitive and has tremendous instincts. He has a very good feel for the game and is a great leader. He has a real presence about him.”
Hartman is back in the starting role after redshirting during the 2019 season due to the play of former quarterback Jamie Newman, who transferred to Georgia, but has since opted out of the 2020 season.
During his true freshman season in 2018, Hartman started the first nine games before suffering an injury to his leg. He made the most of his opportunities last season including a pair of 300-yard passing performances.
Hartman’s 308-yard performance against Florida State helped the Deacs to a 6-1 start.
“Sometimes you get those guys on the other side of the ball at quarterback and you can get in their head. I don’t see that … he is not a guy that has any headcase issues,” Venables said. “He is a very good football player. He is very talented and is a tremendous system player as well.
“So, as a coach is, I know what having a system player is, ‘Look, don’t try to make all the plays. Make the ones that are there for you. You have to make layups. You can’t be airballing the layups.’ I don’t see a whole lot of weaknesses.”
Hartman ended the 2018 season with 1,984 passing yards, including 16 touchdown passes to eight interceptions. His 284.96 passing efficiency rating against Rice is still a Wake Forest record with 11 or more pass attempts in a game.
“He had a tremendous year the year before last and when he came in last year, man, he just did outstanding. The Florida State win, or again, he played out of his mind against Syracuse. They had every chance to win…I just have tremendous, tremendous amount of respect for him.”
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