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UNC Football: Drake Maye turned down two $5 million offers to stay in Chapel Hill

You could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with us. And we appreciate that.

NCAA Football: ACC Football Championship-Clemson at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When Drake Maye announced that he was returning to Carolina, fans rejoiced knowing that Mack Brown wouldn’t have to go into next season with a new quarterback. There was always a suspicion that schools would try to talk him into transferring, but nobody really knew the extent to which teams would go in order to try and pull him away from Brown. Thanks to Brown himself, however, we now know that schools went to wild extremes to try and win over Maye, though the schools in question are still a mystery.

Mack Brown told the media during a press conference that a couple of schools recruited Maye heavily, and while he wouldn’t say who, he made it a point to say that “You know who they are.” He was suggesting that the two teams in question were teams that were going after all of the elite prospects, which likely points to Alabama and Clemson if I had to personally guess. It makes even more sense that it would be one of those two schools after Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi went into specifics about just how much NIL money Maye was offered.

Offering a college athlete $5 million in NIL money has Spartan kicked the NCAA into what basically amounts to pro sports free agency. NIL in combination with the transfer portal has basically made it to where we should expect crazy deals being offered to some of the best players in the country, which could mean that we will see a lot of teams struggle to find consistency from season to season. UNC already had a lot of transfers announced after the regular season, but had Drake Maye announced that he was leaving he would’ve essentially doomed the Tar Heels to regress next season. Thankfully Maye is who he is, and that’s why in our special Festivus episode of What in Tar Nation I made sure to express just how thankful I am that he turned down lucrative offers to remain a Tar Heel.

In the new world of college athletics, it’ll be critical for fans to not take it for granted when some of their school’s best players decide to stay with their respective program. For UNC specifically, let’s be honest: Maye could’ve went to a national title contender, and he likely would’ve had a very successful final college season. I am very thankful for his dedication to the program, and now the wait begins to see where this team can go next season.