Myers Park High quarterback Drake Maye doesn’t say a whole lot, but he makes his words count.
Ask him about his team’s chances this winter to win the first N.C. 4AA state football championship in school history and Maye says, pretty flatly, that it’s going to happen.
Ask him if he’s 100 percent going to play football at North Carolina — like the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” has him pegged for — and Maye says this:
“I wouldn’t say (UNC is in the lead). Carolina is there with everyone else. I just want to enjoy the process.”
Right now, 247 ranks Maye as the No. 51 recruit overall in the class of 2021 and the No. 5 pro-style quarterback. Maye has offers from schools like UNC and N.C. State, plus national powers like Alabama and Ohio State.
College coaches like his athletic pedigree: his father, Mark, was one of the best high school prospects ever from the state of North Carolina. Mark Maye played football at North Carolina. His older brothers Cole (Florida, baseball) and Luke (UNC, basketball) won national championships.
And Drake Maye may be the best Maye of them all.
“I used to coach in Maryland, and one time, I had the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the country,” said Myers Park coach Scott Chadwick, whose team is ranked No. 1 in the “Way Too Early” Charlotte Observer preseason Sweet 16 football poll.
“And that was pretty crazy. But we had 120 coaches come to our school in four weeks. It’s not just Drake. We’ve got other good players, but (earlier this month), the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach from Stanford got on a plane, flew to Charlotte, watched Drake practice, and flew back.”
Last season, Maye led Myers Park to one of its greatest seasons ever, setting a school-record for wins (13) and rolling to a N.C. 4AA state semifinal berth, while throwing for 3,201 yards and 36 touchdowns. That was the most yards from a Mecklenburg County sophomore quarterback since Independence High star Chris Leak threw for 4,544 19 years ago.
Maye was 6-3, 190 last season, and he is 6-5, 205 now. He seems a lot more confident in person vs. six months ago, more at ease with being the front man for one of the state’s premier teams.
“To give you a baseball analogy,” Chadwick said, “I think there were a couple times last year where he really had to rare back to dial in his 90 mile-per-hour fastball, and now that’s his normal. He’s worked hard in the weight room and it’s led to him being stronger. That shows up in his arm strength — and his confidence.”
This season, Maye, Chadwick and Myers Park will have to deal with something the Mustangs have not faced in the modern era: They will be expected to win, expected to challenge state heavyweights like Wake Forest and Mallard Creek, Richmond Senior and Butler.
Offensively, there may not be a more talented team in the Southeast with Maye throwing to two top 25 national recruits at wide receiver — Porter Rooks and Muhsin Muhammad III.
Tight end Logan Mauldin has offers from Massachusetts, Akron and Tulane. Charlotte Country Day transfer Twan Flip, a multi-position skill threat, has joined the team, and reliable receiver Jordan Bly also returns. At running back, Myers Park will feature the promising brother tandem of Tim and Jacob Newman. Jacob Newman, a rising sophomore, projects as a major college talent, Chadwick has said.
But there is one caveat: Only one starting offensive lineman is back, and Chadwick said Myers Park may start three sophomores up front.
“We’ve got to put the puzzle pieces together there, on the line.” Chadwick said. “But they are talented players. (Former NFL QB) Josh McCown (a Mustangs assistant) and I were talking after practice and we said, ‘When we really sit down to game plan, it’s going to be a lot of fun.’”
A big reason for all that optimism is Maye, who plans to commit to college “pretty early in my junior year.”
“We’re going to hard to stop,” Maye said. “It’s going to be a fun year.”
The ‘Way Too Early’ Charlotte Observer preseason football poll
|10.||Rock Hill South Pointe||4A||10-2|
|14.||Belmont South Point||2A||9-4|