Why Drake Maye isn’t playing for UNC in Duke’s Mayo Bowl: Top NFL Draft prospect sitting out vs. WVU

UNC is headed to the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, but star quarterback Drake Maye will not be playing alongside his teammates in the postseason matchup against West Virginia.

Maye is expected to transition well to the NFL as one of the best quarterbacks in college football, finishing out the season with a 63.3% completion rate, 3,608 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.

He finished out his career with a 64.9% completion rate, 8,018 passing yards, 63 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

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Here’s a look into everything to know about Maye not playing in the Mayo Bowl.

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

Maye won’t take the field for the Tar Heels in the Mayo Bowl because he’s headed to the NFL. It is not uncommon for among the NFL’s top draft prospects to not play in the bowl game to avoid injury, and that is precisely what is happening here.

The redshirt sophomore took to social media on Dec. 11 to announce both his intent to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft and that he would not play in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Who is the Tar Heels’ starting QB for the Duke’s Mayo Bowl?

With Maye not taking part in the Mayo Bowl, the Tar Heels will now turn to quarterback Conner Harrell at signal-caller.

Harrell, a redshirt freshman, has spent the season as Maye’s backup. Harrell only attempted six passes, completing four of them, with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. 

It’s easy to get the sense Harrell may not be the team’s long-term answer at quarterback, but he will have the perfect opportunity to make a good impression that could bode well for his case at UNC or elsewhere moving forward.


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