Today marks the first day of August, which means the college football season is just around the corner. While North Carolina’s first game of the season isn’t until September, there will be other college football games that kick off this month.
That means we’re fully into ramp up season for this year. There will be plenty of preview content coming out (or already out in places) looking ahead to the 2023 season. One of the things that come along with previews are award watchlists.
Every year around this time, many of the various different college football awards put out watchlists, giving shine on some players expected to do big things that season. This year, we’re expecting to see Drake Maye on plenty of those lists. Last year, UNC’s quarterback was considered a potential Hesiman Trophy contender until the Tar Heels went through their late season swoon.
As for this year, he got off to a big start in watchlist watch, as the Maxwell Award named Maye on theirs.
The Maxwell Award is one of the most prestigious non-Heisman awards, and — like the Hesiman — it is given to the player voted the best in the country. The last four winners have all won both the Maxwell and the Heisman in the same season including USC QB Caleb Williams last year, and there’s plenty of other greats — both college and NFL — who’ve won it over the years. No UNC player has won the award, although maybe Maye could change that. He was among the semifinalists for the award last season.
Elsewhere, Carolina long snapper Drew Little was named on the list for the Patrick Mannelly Award, which is given to the best college long snapper. That award is fairly new on the scene, as it was first awarded in 2019. A Tar Heel winning that one would be amusing considering that Mannelly played for Duke in college.
Obviously, there’s still a long way to go and a lot of games to be played this football season. Being named on a watch list does not guarantee any amount of success in a season. If you look at these ones released in the preseason, they typically include a lot of players. That being said, it’s a nice little achievement for a player, as it usually means you’ve had to show some amount of talent in the previous season. Maye certainly did that last year, and hopefully will again in 2023.