Quarterback Drake Maye says he plans to return to North Carolina football next season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — One good thing did come out of North Carolina's 39-10 loss against Clemson in Saturday's ACC Championship Game.

Surrounded by media in the tunnel beneath Bank of America Stadium about 45 minutes after the game, the redshirt freshman quarterback Drake Maye said he intends to play for the Tar Heels (9-4) in 2023.

Because of the new NCAA rule that allows college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness, high-profile programs where those opportunities are greater have led some prominent players to transfer. Just last season the ACC's top receiver, Pitt's Jordan Addison, left the Panthers for Southern Cal where he reportedly received $3.3 million in NIL deals.

A successful first year as UNC's starting quarterback in which he was named ACC Rookie and Player of the Year should result in many NIL opportunities for Maye. But some wondered if Maye might have even more lucrative NIL possibilities if he played for a national power such as Alabama, where he originally committed as a junior in high school before flipping to North Carolina.

Maye wasn't entertaining any such move after Saturday's game.

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"That's my intention,'' Maye said when asked if he'd be back at UNC for the 2023 season. "I'm a Carolina kid. It means something wearing that Carolina blue. So that's my intention. I love this place. These fans have been great. It's been a heck of a season in the first year for me. I couldn't ask for more. Probably wish games would have gone a little different at the end of the year. But thanks to all the fans, players and coaches.''

North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye (10) looks to pass in the first half during the Atlantic Coast Conference championship NCAA college football game against Clemson on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

Maye's father is a former UNC quarterback and his older brother Luke helped the Tar Heels win the 2017 NCAA basketball championship. Younger brother Beau is also a walk-on member of the current UNC basketball team.Maye said no teams have reached out to him at this point, and if they do he might not speak to them.

"I haven't had anybody reach out,'' he said. "I don't know if I will. I probably won't really accept personal-like contact. I think that's bad the way Carolina has treated me and how well they've put trust in me as a redshirt freshman quarterback. I'll just handle that when that bridge comes.''

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In the meantime, Maye still has one more game to play this season.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Maye completed 26 of 42 passes for 268 yards, but was intercepted twice Saturday against the Tigers. He has thrown for a school single-season record 4,115 yards this season and his 35 touchdown passes are three shy of the mark of 38 set by Sam Howell in 2019.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Drake Maye plans to return to North Carolina football next season