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UNC Football: Drake Maye plans to enter the NFL Draft

We finally received the news we’ve all been expecting.

NCAA Football: Duke at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it’s official: UNC quarterback Drake Maye has announced that he plans to enter the NFL Draft, and will not participate in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. He made his announcement this evening on Twitter:

Maye finished his UNC career totaling 618 completed passes for 8,018 yards (5th in school history), 63 touchdowns (4th in school history), and 16 interceptions. In the run game, Maye ran 302 times for 1,209 yards and 16 touchdowns. As far as his sophomore season is concerned, he finished he final season completing 63.3% of his passes for 3,608 yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

ABC 11 got to speak with Maye this afternoon, and here is what he had to say about entering the NFL Draft:

“First off, moving on from college and getting back into workout mode and really just learning the steps of preparing for the NFL Draft,” Maye said of the upcoming weeks. “Not only physically but mentally. Playing quarterback in the NFL is a mental game. I want to show the NFL not only my competitive edge but that I’m a winner and a leader and I’m ready to take on a franchise.”

I personally can’t think of a quarterback in the country more ready to take the next step than Drake Maye. While this season wasn’t exactly what we all had in mind for him, he put his intelligence, arm strength, and athleticism on full display during the 2023 season. All of this was done without the best of offensive lines, no true WR1 for the first few games, and a defense that probably kept him on the field a lot more than Mack Brown probably wanted him to be. Maye’s time at UNC was a gift to all of us as fans, but truly he deserved a trip to a New Year’s Six bowl at minimum this season, but...well...you know.

As far as his NFL Draft stock is concerned, right now the Carolina Panthers owe the Chicago Bears the number one pick, which means they could take yet another Tar Heels quarterback. Whether or not they do is anybody’s guess, but if they pass on Maye, the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders are two other teams that should be in the market for a quarterback. If Maye isn’t picked in the top five of this draft, it’s hard to see him staying on the board much longer after that. No matter what happens, it’s hard to see Maye not having an impressive NFL career.

As far as UNC goes, they will likely enter the Duke’s Mayo Bowl with Conner Harrell as their quarterback. As far as the 2024 season goes, Mack Brown already received a verbal commitment from Texas A&M transfer Max Johnson, so it will likely be a battle between these two quarterbacks for the starting job.

We here at Tar Heel Blog would like to wish Drake Maye the absolute best in his NFL journey, and as always, Go Heels!