Whenever Tanner Hartman had a question about college football or the recruiting process, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound offensive lineman looked no further than his father.
In the early-to-mid 1980s, Tom Hartman was a standout lineman at Virginia Tech. Tanner wasn’t seriously pursued by his father’s alma mater, but since the spring, he’s been a top target of one of the Hokies’ top rivals – the Maryland Terrapins.
Hartman said his affinity for the Terps became apparent to his family soon enough. His father put aside his college allegiance to provide some worthwhile advice to his son.
“He just said, 'Do whatever you want. It's your life, your decision.' That's what I did,” said Hartman, who committed to Maryland late last week. “It's kind of funny because he's getting calls from guys he played with at Tech. They're kind of saying, 'We're going to be rooting for him -- except for one game.' It's kind of cool, though, that I'll still be playing a lot in the area.”
Hartman chose the Terps over offers from Liberty, Richmond and Temple. Boston College was also heavily recruiting the three-star prospect.
Maryland running backs coach Andre Powell first started pursuing Hartman during spring practice at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, Va. Bulldogs coach Frank Rocco – a former teammate of Terps defensive line coach Greg Gattuso at Penn State – said he could tell that Maryland had done its homework on Hartman.
“When Coach Powell came through spring time, they already had done their diligence in evaluating video. They were already on second base at that point,” Rocco said. “I think what they like is the fact that he’s a big and potentially even bigger offensive lineman that can be very athletic. He runs a sub-5 40-yard dash, he’s got good quickness and he’s very long. He’s every bit 6-4-plus and 250. His dad is 6-7, 300. … He’s got a good bloodline. I think the projection for what he can be is very, very exciting.”
Hartman, who also plays on the defensive line in high school, had visited College Park for a game several years ago with his father and his father’s friend, who was a Terps fan. Hartman was excited to return to Maryland earlier this summer for a chance to earn a scholarship at the Terps’ camp.
“They told me that they liked my film, but they had a hunch they were going to offer me,” Hartman said. “They wanted to see me at camp first -- just wanted to meet me in person first.”
The Maryland coaches later told Hartman that they planned to take four offensive linemen in the 2013 recruiting class, and had already accepted commitments from two – Derwin Gray of Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) and Jajuan Dulaney of McEachern (Ga.). With that in mind, Hartman felt comfortable enough to wrap up the recruiting process well in advance of the beginning of his senior season.
“Once I went to camp, I talked to Coach [Randy] Edsall and [offensive line coach Tom] Brattan a lot, too,” Hartman said. “Talking to the staff, I developed good relationships. That's really why I chose Maryland -- the relationships with the staff. I know I can really develop as a person and a player.”
Hartman, who’s from the same area as Maryland center Bennett Fulper, said he’s undecided on a major but has an interest in sports marketing. He’s looking forward to getting started on his academic and athletic career in College Park.
“I'm excited,” he said. “Obviously [it was a positive] getting my commitment out of the way before my senior year so I can kind of just focus on my senior year and enjoy it, and at the same time, getting prepared for college as well. I've still been in a lot of contact with the coaches. We're all excited.”