QB Drake Maye returning to North Carolina for 2023 season

ByPete Thamel ESPN logo
Thursday, December 8, 2022
ESPN

QuarterbackDrake Maye, considered one of the top prospects in college football entering the 2023 season, announced Wednesday night on social media that he'll be playing his junior year at North Carolina.

"Could never leave this place, I'm a Tar Heel," he wrote on Twitter, punctuating his announcement with a handshake emoji.

Maye led North Carolina to a 9-4 record and threw for 4,115 yards, the third highest total in the country. He led UNC to the ACC championship game, and along the way established himself as a high-end NFL draft prospect.

There were reports that Maye could be entering the transfer portal this week, but that prospect always loomed as unlikely. Maye's family ties to the school include a father who is a former UNC starting quarterback, a brother who hit one of the iconic basketball shots in school history, and another brother, his roommate Beau, who is a walk-on member of the UNC basketball team.

Maye is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback who as a redshirt freshman blew away scouts in his first season as a starter. He flipped from Alabamain recruiting and has the potential to be the school's first-ever No. 1 draft pick.

Maye and USC's Caleb Williams will be the consensus favorites to go No. 1 in the 2024 NFL draft, and the competition for that top spot from two different coasts will be one of the sport's defining storylines of 2023.

Maye finished the 2022 season with 35 touchdown passes, seven rushing touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also impressed scouts with his calm presence, as his poise, polish and arm strength loomed as defining traits.

Maye's announcement came a few hours after news broke that UNC offensive coordinator Phil Longo is leaving for Wisconsin. That departure may end up beneficial for Maye's long-term NFL development, as Longo's spread system, based on tempo, isn't viewed as an ideal incubator for the NFL.

Expect Maye to have a voice in who gets hired next as the Tar Heels' offensive coordinator, as his NFL development will likely loom as a factor in who UNC hires.