The last two hours around Tar Heel football have been some of the most chaotic that we have ever seen around the program, with the departures of Phil Longo and Jack Bicknell Jr. to Wisconsin and Storm Duck to the transfer portal. There was some positive news in the middle of all of it as the Tar Heel received the news that they had been hoping to get on their starting quarterback, Drake Maye.
Earlier this evening, Maye announced via his Twitter account that he was in fact returning for the 2023 season, despite the departure of his offensive coordinator about an hour before his announcement. This probably wouldn’t have come as much of a shock if the Longo news hadn’t broken when it did based on his comments after the ACC Championship Game on Saturday night. Maye, the son of former Tar Heel signal caller Mark Maye and brother of Tar Heel basketball players Luke and Beau Maye, talked about how good the university had been to him and said that he had not been taking any calls from other schools. Tonight’s announcement seems to show that that was in fact the case the entire time, even though people throughout the country wanted it to not be.
With his return, the Tar Heel offense is getting back one of the best quarterbacks in the country and a guy that will be one of the Heisman front runners. Maye didn’t have the best finish to his redshirt freshman season, but for the first ten games of the year, he was firmly in the Heisman race. Heading into the Holiday Bowl meeting with Oregon, he has completed 67.2% of his passes for 4,115 yards and posted a 35-7 TD-INT ratio. All of those are currently tops in the ACC this season and the latter two rank inside the top ten nationally. He leads the Tar Heels in rushing, as well, with 653 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns on 172 rush attempts. His rushing yards and rushing touchdowns are currently inside of the top ten in the conference, a distinction he shares only with Duke quarterback Riley Leonard. His 4,768 yards of total offense are still a nation’s best and his 42 total touchdowns is third in the country behind only Heisman favorite Caleb Williams and now-former Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed.
These last few days around Tar Heel football have been absolute turmoil, setting up an offseason of change. A new offense will be heading to Chapel Hill with the departure of Longo, but that job will be an extremely attractive one with Maye’s return. That is a huge relief for a program whose direction is a bit unclear right now.