Monday marks 12 days till the start of the Tar Heel 2023 season. While the focus in practice may be turning towards South Carolina, there was one last bit of preseason recognition handed down to two members of the team that have been receiving plenty of it this preseason.
A week after releasing their preseason rankings, the Associated Press revealed their preseason All-Americans for this year with some Tar Heel flavor. Quarterback Drake Maye was beat out for first team honors by defending Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, but did earn second team honors over some who are ahead of him in the Heisman odds. Last year, threw for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns to just seven interceptions while completing 66.2% of his passes. He also led the team in rushing, totaling 698 yards and seven touchdowns. He adds this to his preseason ACC Player of the Year and preseason All-ACC honors along with the numerous award watch lists that he has landed on.
Linebacker Cedric Gray joins him on the second team alongside Clemson linebackers Jeremiah Trotter Jr. and Barrett Carter. He finished last season top three in the country in both solo tackles (82) and total tackles (145) and it is the reason that he is on nearly every watch list you possibly can be as a linebacker. He is also a preseason first team All-ACC member along with Trotter Jr. and Carter.
This will be the last preseason honors that will be handed out with the college football season starting on Saturday. The Tar Heels have received plenty of praise in the preseason, but they need to back it up if they are going to take that next step as a program.