Clawson's Demon Deacons played at Notre Dame on Saturday, where the Fighting Irish honored Sam Hartman during his final home game in South Bend, Indiana. Clawson, however, wasn't so sure that moment warranted a celebration.
Notre Dame "only dated" Hartman, Clawson said Tuesday, noting that Wake Forest recruited and developed the quarterback over five seasons.
"[Notre Dame] bought him and rented him for a year, and now they love him?" Clawson said. "This is where college football is."
Clawson's point is that Hartman left Wake Forest with a year of eligibility remaining to land a significant NIL deal at Notre Dame, mirroring a concern many smaller programs have about retaining top talent developed in-house.
Hartman played in parts of five seasons at Wake Forest, setting school records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and completions and, in 2021, leading the program to just its second ACC championship game appearance.
After the 2022 season, Hartman announced he was transferring to Notre Dame, where he has started 11 games this season, throwing 22 touchdown passes and rushing for three more. He threw four touchdown passes in a 45-7 win over Wake Forest last week.
Notre Dame played the song "I Will Always Love You" as Hartman exited the field.
"When that video played, it's just like, 'Holy cow, this is where college football is,'" Clawson said. "Sam and I had a great discussion before the game and after the game, and I love the young man. I really do. I don't blame him at all for what he did. That's the system now. For him to have the opportunity to have that experience, and make that type of money in one year, who can fault him?"
Still, Clawson echoed concerns from many programs that the players they recruit and develop over years will depart for more money at bigger schools once they have blossomed into stars.
"That's reality, and there's no point in complaining about it," Clawson said. "Here's a guy that we recruited and we developed. They're putting a video on him saying, 'We will always love you.' Like, you only dated him for a couple of months. It can't be love. We're the ones that love him. We had five years with him. You rented him for a season."