Commanders Sign 24-TD Notre Dame Quarterback In Post-Draft Move

Sam Hartman

Getty Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman.

The Washington Commanders drafted one high-profile college quarterback at No. 2 overall with LSU’s Jayden Daniels and are bringing in another as an undrafted free agent in Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman.

Hartman signing with the Commanders as an UDFA was announced via Notre Dame football’s official X account.

The Commanders will have one of the most veteran groups of rookie quarterbacks in the NFL as Daniels is a four-year college starter and will turn 24 years old in December. Hartman is also a four-year starter and will turn 25 years old in July.

Veteran NFL quarterback and former No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota was signed in the offseason and will likely serve as Daniels’ backup to start the season. Hartman will have the opportunity to compete with Jake Fromm and Jeff Driskel to be the Commanders’ third quarterback.

Hartman Starred at Wake Forest, then Notre Dame

Hartman has been in the spotlight since his senior year of high school at Oceanside (S.C.) Collegiate Academy, where he was featured on Season 2 of the Netflix show QB1: Beyond the Lights alongside future first-round pick Justin Fields.

Of the nine quarterbacks featured on the first three seasons of QB1, all but one transferred from the original school they signed with — Fromm.

Hartman started as a true freshman at Wake Forest in 2018, lost his starting job in 2019 then gained it back for the next three seasons.

In 2021, he was one of the best quarterbacks in college football, throwing for 4,228 yards, 39 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while also rushing for 364 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Hartman transferred to Notre Dame for his extra Covid year of eligibility and went 9-3 in in 12 starts in 2023, throwing for 2,689 yards, 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.

Why Didn’t Sam Hartman Get Drafted?

Hartman, 6-foot-1 and 211 pounds, wasn’t drafted despite making a staggering 57 starts across six college seasons.

NFL analyst Lance Zierlein had Hartman projected as a Day 3 pick going in the 6-7 round range and compared him to former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who played 13 seasons in the NFL after he was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

“Solidly built but shorter, Hartman plays with a competitive temperament but a lack of consistency,” Zierlein wrote. “He can play inside structure, but at heart, he’s an improv-oriented passer. He has big hands to pump and reset the football, and his Wake Forest tape showed a player capable of beating defenses on extended plays … There are flashes on tape that can be compelling, but his lack of physical traits and high turnover totals during his career could limit him into a role as an average backup.”

Hartman was one of the highest-paid players in college football in 2023, according to a $1.2 million valuation from On3. Notre Dame reportedly had endorsement deals with Google, Under Armour, Beats by Dre, Dove, Dollar Shave Club and Mizzen+Main.

Hartman could have left Wake Forest after the 2022 season but conversations with his agent made it clear that returning to college would be more lucrative than playing his rookie year in the NFL as a low draft pick or undrafted free agent.

“If you’re not going to be an early draft pick, and you can go back to school, whether that’s the current program you’re at, or maybe there’s a better situation for development and fit to consider,” Hartman’s agent, Brian McLaughlin, told ESPN in April 2024. “Quarterbacks can make six figures — some guys now even creeping into the seven figures between their collective and marketing deals — it’s like, why not go do that? Try to significantly raise your draft stock.

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