North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye made a clean sweep of the ACC’s Player of the Year awards on Wednesday. The redshirt freshman from Huntersville collected the league’s Rookie of the Year, Offensive Rookie of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and the coveted Player of the Year honors.
This came a day after he was named all-ACC first team. But there’s one honor he’d like to earn above those, and that chance will come Saturday in Bank of America Stadium when he leads the Tar Heels against Clemson in the ACC championship game.
“It’s been a blessing to be the signal caller for this offense,” Maye said on Tuesday. “And it just shows what this offense can be. It’s just an honor. We got some more work to do, the job’s not finished.”
Carolina has not won the league title since 1980. The Heels haven’t made the title game since 2015, the only other time they won the Coastal Division. When the ACC gets rid of divisions next season, Maye would like to have a ring to go along with those individual awards.
“It’s just an extreme honor playing at the level we have and just being part of this team this special year,” Maye said. “It’s been fun and I’m looking forward to one last ride in the regular season in Charlotte on Saturday.”
Maye said he had confidence in himself entering the season, but he didn’t even know that he’d be the starting quarterback until a week before Carolina played Florida A&M in the opener.
Maye was locked in a battle to replace three-year starter Sam Howell with sophomore Jacolby Criswell.
Maye wowed observers his first game, throwing five touchdown passes, and he hasn’t slowed down much all season. Maye has 35 touchdowns passes on the season, which is just three behind Howell’s 38 for UNC’s single-season record.
His 3,847 passing yards surpassed Mitch Trubisky for the program’s single-season record.
Maye has also been the Heels’ leading rusher with 629 yards and six rushing touchdowns.
Maye leads the nation in total offense (373.0) and ranks fourth in both passing yards per game (320.6) and passing touchdowns. He’s also the highest graded quarterback in Power 5 conferences according to Pro Football Focus.
“It’s a great achievement on a personal level, but also as team level,” Maye said. “…obviously, we wished to end up with a little bit of record but 9-3 playing for the ACC championship is pretty special. Credit my guys for even having me in the running. A lot of those guys deserve it more than I do.”