As the countdown to the kickoff of the 2023 football season continues, more ACC preseason results were announced on Wednesday. After the poll predicting Carolina will finish third came out on Tuesday, the individual players of the year and All-ACC lists came out after being voted on at ACC Kickoff last week.
In what should be no surprise, Drake Maye took the title as ACC Preseason Player of the Year. It’s a remarkable ascension for the player who, at this time last year, was still in a “competition” for starter with Jacolby Criswell. It is easy to forget based on just how good the last season was for Maye, and how quickly he quieted any doubts about him being named starter.
Maye took the title without much doubt. Second place went to FSU QB Jordan Travis, which makes sense as they are picked as the team that will face Clemson in the ACC Championship this season. Maye got 88 votes to Travis’ 66 votes, and a distant third went to Clemson’s running back Will Shipley with 17. It speaks to how voters view Maye’s skill when he gets more votes than the next two people combined, and two people who are expected to actually compete for the ACC title.
It also speaks to his importance, as Akil Guruparan noted yesterday in our preview of the UNC quarterbacks, for UNC to have any hope to compete in the ACC this season. It also at least allows the Tar Heels to stumble in a few games, but if Maye still puts up the numbers he’s expected to, he’d have a good shot at winning the regular season POY. It would be back-to-back ACC POY crowns for Maye, as he was just short of getting a trip to New York last season with the offense faltering some down the stretch.
Player of the Year wasn’t the only voting announced, though. The preseason All-ACC team was also released to the public Carolina also was pretty well represented on this list, with Maye, of course, being the quarterback, but also incoming transfer Tez Walker took one of three slots for receiver. On defense, Cedric Gray followed up his first team selection after the 2022 season to land on the preseason 2023 list in one of the three linebacker slots.
Carolina ended up tied with Duke and Miami with three selections on the list. Clemson, unsurprisingly, led the league with seven selections, and FSU followed up with four.
We’ll see how much the postseason list matches the preseason list. Let’s hope that their prognostications about UNC are correct.