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UNC Football: Mack Brown names Drake Maye the starter for Florida A&M

It doesn’t mean that Criswell will just stay on the bench, though.

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While the team knew yesterday, we all found out today: Mack Brown has named Drake Maye this weekend’s starter against Florida A&M to start the 2022 season.

The announcement follows a competition that started after the Duke’s Mayo Bowl when Sam Howell took his last snaps. It’s been an intense competition from Spring Ball to Summer Camp, with Brown deciding it’s in the best interests of everyone to go ahead and name a starter in preparation for this week’s game plan instead of going with the infamous “or” situation.

Maye is starting his second season as a Tar Heel, but is a redshirt freshman thanks to only appearing in four games last season. He came to the Tar Heels with a pretty strong family lineage; former UNC quarterback Mark Maye is his dad, one of his older brothers is 2017 NCAA hero Luke, another brother Cole won a title playing for Florida’s baseball team. Drake came to Carolina as a highly rated four-star pro-style quarterback, and played in the second half against Wofford last season. He was 7 for 9 passing, gaining 89 yards, and also ran for 38 yards.

Maye will now get the first team reps in practice this week, however, Mack Brown has made it clear that this isn’t for the whole season, and it’s a week-by-week competition. Also, just because Maye will start the game, doesn’t mean Criswell will be relegated to the bench the whole time. Florida A&M was a deliberately scheduled opponent last year so that both quarterbacks would get real time under center to start to separate themselves in game action. It’s quite possible this competition could go on all season, based on Brown's hedging language when naming Maye the starter, especially as the strong possibility of a transfer looms if one or the other doesn’t like how things shake out.

The question of who runs out first may have been answered, but there’s still a lot to be learned from watching the Tar Heels play this weekend. We’ll start looking into the questions and preview the game as we get closer to Saturday, so stay with us as football is back!