Why Drake Maye isn’t playing for UNC in Duke’s Mayo Bowl

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UNC’s star quarterback, Drake Maye, won’t be joining his team for the Duke’s Mayo Bowl as he’s set to transition to the NFL. Maye’s impressive college career has positioned him as one of the top quarterbacks in college football, culminating in an exceptional season with a 63.3% completion rate, 3,608 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. Throughout his college tenure, Maye demonstrated consistent performance, amassing 8,018 passing yards, 63 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions with a career 64.9% completion rate.

His decision not to play in the Mayo Bowl aligns with a common strategy among top NFL draft prospects, opting out of postseason games to avoid the risk of injury before the draft.

To officially declare his intent for the 2024 NFL Draft and to announce his absence from the Mayo Bowl, Maye took to social media on December 11 with a statement explaining his decision.

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In Maye’s absence, the Tar Heels will look to redshirt freshman Conner Harrell to step up as the starting quarterback. Harrell has primarily served as Maye’s backup this season, making limited appearances with six pass attempts, completing four, and recording one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown.

While Harrell may not be seen as the long-term solution at quarterback for UNC, this opportunity presents a crucial moment for him to showcase his talent and potentially solidify his case for a more prominent role within the team or elsewhere in the future.