UNC QB Drake Maye is entering the NFL draft and won’t play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl


North Carolina star quarterback Drake Maye is entering the NFL draft and won’t play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl for the Tar Heels against West Virginia.

Maye announced his decision in a social media post Monday, ending his UNC career that included two years as the starter putting up prolific numbers and making himself one of the most sought-after potential prospects for the NFL.

The school has also announced that all-ACC linebacker Cedric Gray, receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker, offensive lineman Corey Gaynor and defensive lineman Myles Murphy are all entering the NFL draft. Of that group, only Murphy is set to play in the bowl game.

“We want to thank these young men for all they’ve contributed to Carolina football during their times with the program,” coach Mack Brown said in a statement. “It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow and flourish both on the field and off. We wish them nothing but the best and look forward to watching them represent UNC as they move on to the next chapters of their careers.”

Maye’s decision is hardly a surprise, with Brown saying in November he thought it was “absolute” that Maye would declare for the draft high draft potential. Maye held back on any such announcements, though he spoke with some finality after the team’s double-overtime win against rival Duke in what turned out to be his final home game.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound third-year sophomore closed his career in a lopsided loss at rival North Carolina State, which included Maye suffering an ankle injury. But Maye returned to grind out one more drive despite clearly being hobbled while walking the sideline, saying afterward he wanted to “get back out with the guys and not leave them out there.”

Maye was named The Associated Press offensive player of the year for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2022 in his first full season as a starter, throwing for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns while running for 698 yards and seven additional scores. He led UNC to the ACC title game that year.

Things didn’t come quite as easily this year, though Maye still ranked second in the Bowl Subdivision in total offense (338.1) and eighth in passing (300.7).

The move means Conner Harrell is set to take over at quarterback for UNC against West Virginia, with the redshirt freshman making four appearances in relief — including in that N.C. State loss — behind Maye.


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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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