After handing out All-ACC honors on Tuesday, the conference handed out the season awards on Wednesday evening. While the Tar Heels may have been absent from the defensive awards, they dominated the league’s offensive awards thanks to their standout redshirt freshman quarterback Drake Maye. That alone is a special feat, but it was made even better when the conference revealed the winner of their most prestigious award.
Maye was named the conference’s first team quarterback yesterday and was an obvious choice for ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year, both of which he received nearly every vote for. He wasn’t nearly as dominant in the voting for ACC Offensive Player of the Year, but he still received 47 of the 65 votes after this outstanding season.
The big one, though, is the ACC Player of the Year award that Maye also took home this evening. He received 46 of the 65 votes, becoming the first Tar Heel to take home the award since Lawrence Taylor did so back in 1980. That season was also the last time that the team took home an ACC title, something that this year’s team will play for on Saturday night against Clemson in Charlotte.
Maye had his two worst games of the season in the final two weeks of the regular season, but it has still been a pretty amazing year for him. Despite those struggles the past two weeks, he still leads the FBS in total yards with 4,476 and is still top five in the country in total touchdowns (41), passing touchdowns (35) and passing yards (3,847). He leads the ACC in all of those categories, as well as completions (298), pass attempts (440), completion percentage (67.7) and passer rating (165.1). He had a tremendous season on the ground, too, finishing eighth in the conference in rushing yards with 629.
Maye has put together one of the best seasons of anyone to ever wear a Tar Heel uniform and looked like he had a chance to be the program’s first Heisman finalist since 1949. Unfortunately, this two-game funk that he has been in has eliminated those hopes and has also removed him from the conversation for many of the other awards that he was named a semifinalist for. A win on Saturday, though, would be a very nice consolation prize.