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Drake Maye declares for 2024 NFL Draft, will not play in Duke's Mayo Bowl

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UNC sophomore quarterback Drake Maye (10) rushes during the football game against N.C. State at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. UNC lost 39-20.

UNC sophomore quarterback Drake Maye announced that he will be entering the 2024 NFL Draft and has opted out of the Duke's Mayo Bowl in a post on X and Instagram Monday afternoon. 

"Tar Heel Nation, the best fans out there. You have made my time at UNC truly special, thank y'all." Maye wrote in his statement. "I have decided to forego the bowl game and declare for the NFL Draft. Forever and always, Go Heels!"

Maye’s decision comes after spending three years as a Tar Heel. He started the last two seasons under center after redshirting his first.

In his first regular season at North Carolina, Maye broke numerous single-season records, including passing yards, total offense, 200-yard passing games and 300-yard passing games. Furthermore, he also tied former standout quarterback Sam Howell, with 38 passing touchdowns. 

In 2022, Maye was named ACC Player of the Year, becoming the first Tar Heel to win the honor since Lawrence Taylor in 1980. He was also named ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, and led the Tar Heels to a 9-5 record and appearance in the ACC Championship game.  

In his sophomore effort, Maye threw for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns, while adding 449 yards on the ground and nine rushing touchdowns. However, the Tar Heels were only able to muster a 8-4 record on the season after a late season collapse. 

"Thank you, Coach Brown, for the opportunity to live out my dream of playing quarterback in Carolina Blue," Maye wrote. "To the rest of the coaching staff and support staff, thank you for the countless hours of helping me along the way."

He concludes his time at UNC with 8,018 career passing yards and 1,209 rushing yards, along with 79 combined touchdowns. 

With his announcement, Maye became the fourth Tar Heel to declare for the draft, behind junior wide receiver Tez Walker, senior linebacker Cedric Gray, and senior defensive lineman Myles Murphy. In an email following Maye's post, UNC athletic communications confirmed that graduate offensive lineman Corey Gaynor will also enter the draft. 

Walker officially announced his departure Tuesday morning in a post on X, following multiple reports that he was planning on declaring and after accepting his invitation to the Reese's Senior Bowl.

"Thanks to the entire Tar Heel nation for welcoming me with open arms and standing behind me when I didn't think I was going to play this season," Walker wrote. "Without you all I wouldn't have kept pushing everyday and getting my eligibility overturned. To my UNC teammates, y'all made this past year very special for me. I've made some bonds that will go on for the rest of my life." 

Of the five players, only Murphy will participate in the Duke's Mayo Bowl.

“We want to thank these young men for all they’ve contributed to Carolina football during their times with the program," head coach Mack Brown said in a statement released by UNC athletic communications. "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.”

Ahead of the NFL Draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has Maye projected as the third overall pick and the second quarterback off the board, only behind USC quarterback Caleb Williams. 

@mdmaynard74 | @PeaceGwen

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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Gwen Peace

Gwen Peace is the 2023-24 assistant sports editor at The Daily Tar Heel. She has previously served as a senior writer. Gwen is a sophomore pursuing a double major in media and journalism and peace, war and defense.