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Mack Brown recalls first memory of when he realized that Drake Maye could be special

On3 imageby:Sam Gillenwater07/27/23


Mack Brown has a top-notch quarterback on his hands at North Carolina in Drake Maye. However, he had to learn that over time like the rest of us, especially once he stepped foot in Chapel Hill.

Brown sat down for an interview on the ACC Network this morning at the 2023 ACC Football Kickoff. He said much of his evaluation of Maye came later on because he wasn’t around to see his latest high school season. Even so, once he got to UNC, he saw everything that he wanted to see, specifically in competitive moments in drills last offseason that made him realize that he was the real deal.

“I got here after their season so I had to see video of Myers Park when he was in high school. But then when he got to the campus? It’s smooth, it’s easy, he runs so much better than people think. He gets that old gangly giraffe look and he can take off,” said Brown. “But the thing you don’t know about him is he’s got all the other intangibles. He anticipates well, he thinks, he doesn’t make bad plays, the ball is usually where it’s supposed to be.”

“He competes and you’ve got to be able to compete. If you’re going to make it, and especially at that position, you’ve got to compete and you’ve got to compete harder than any of the other kids because they watch you,” Brown explained. “Where I saw the difference is I watched him compete last summer and he was winning all the drills. In fact, it bothered me some.”

Beyond that, Brown also said Maye’s family has a lot to do with what makes him special. They already have to be considering how many of their other children have already starred in athletics. With Maye being the youngest, though, Brown believes that his placement on the totem pole gave him the extra edge to be what he is today from a competitive standpoint.

“I just believe his mom and dad were athletes. So he’s been raised like we all want to raise our kids,” Brown said. “One wins a national championship in basketball, one wins a national championship in football. One’s playing on the basketball team at Carolina now. He was the little brother. So he has had to compete to get a chicken leg at dinner. They were beating him up all over the place. And that’s what he does. He competes.”

“You’re got to have the intangibles, you’ve got to have the ability. But unless you compete at the highest level? Then you’re not going to be where he is. And that’s what he does,” said Brown.

As a prospect, Maye has shown all of those things as more. There’s a reason that many scouts have him as the second quarterback off the board for the 2024 NFL Draft. There’s also a reason why people, including Trent Dilfer, are comparing him to some of the league’s best like Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, and Joe Burrow.

Brown sees Maye as a player and person that has exuded competitiveness and confidence from when he was young to today. His hope now is that it pays off for the Tar Heels again with him back as their quarterback for a second year.