Drake Maye is still considered a dark horse to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. The UNC Tar Heels QB is near the bottom of the pack among top Heisman hopefuls, trailing Caleb Williams of USC, last year’s winner.
Tar Heels fans will hope to see Maye’s odds shorten throughout the season as he leads his team to the top of the ACC.
While North Carolina online sports betting won’t be legal in time for fans to place futures bets on Maye’s Heisman chances, NCSharp is keeping tabs on Maye’s run to the Heisman.
We’ll be tracking the key stats and big-game performances that will define a Heisman season.
We’ll make stat updates after every game and answer the big-picture Heisman questions as they come, so North Carolinians can track their homegrown Heisman hopeful throughout the 2023 NCAA football season.
Drake Maye 2023 Heisman stats
The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best single-season performance by an NCAA football player.
Here are the stats that NCSharp thinks will best capture Maye’s body of work for the 2023 season. These stats will be updated weekly.
UPDATE: Maye put up an impressive and creative showing in UNC’s week four road win against Pitt. He added one TD through the air (thrown with his off hand, which should really be its own stat category) to go along with two on the ground and helped the Tar Heels rally from an early deficit to win going away against the Pitt Panthers. Maye’s hovering near the middle of the pack in the Heisman rankings, but UNC fans are feeling pretty confident with Maye under center.
- Completion Percentage: 72.7
- Total Passing Yards: 1187
- Toral Rushing Yards: 119
- Passing Touchdowns: 5
- Rushing Touchdowns: 3
- Interceptions: 4
- QB Rating: 154.7
A stellar stat line will get a player into the Heisman conversation and keep him there, but it may not be enough to differentiate two stellar performances throughout the year.
In the cases where two or more players put up similarly-incredible stat lines, Heisman voters must create their own factors to differentiate the great performances from the Heisman-winning performance.
Questions like the following could provide the tie-breaking analysis for the 2023 Heisman voters.
Did he have a strong second half of the season?
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. This mantra holds true for Heisman candidates as well.
Coming out hot is expected in college football because most early games come against non-conference opponents, some of which are cakewalks for Heisman candidates and their teams.
Finishing strong against tougher conference opponents is so much more valuable in the eyes of Heisman voters because it establishes that the player has grit and big-game skills.
Starting in mid-October, when conference play kicks off, we’ll be paying close attention to Drake Maye’s performances under pressure.
Did he have a nationally-televised, big-game performance?
You can’t discount the significance of a big game on national TV. When Heisman voters start making their internal calculations, those big, nationally-televised games will likely be the ones they remember first.
And while it might be the only blemish on an otherwise exceptional season, cementing your greatness under the bright lights and network TV cameras goes a long way to getting your name etched on the Heisman.
For Maye and the Tar Heels, we’re looking at Nov. 18 at Clemson. That’ll be the team’s and Maye’s biggest test of the regular season. Circle it now.
Did he have a ‘Heisman moment’: a signature play, drive, comeback, game?
This question could be folded into the previous question, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Leading a heroic comeback in a tight game, making an incredible touchdown grab, scrambling for ages before putting a game-winning pass on a receiver’s numbers–these could all become a player’s defining Heisman moment.
If that moment were to come against a top opponent, all the better. NCSharp will be watching for those signature Heisman moments in Drake Maye’s 2023 season.
Did he lead his team to a successful season?
While the Heisman is based on individual performance, most Heisman winners come from the best teams in the country.
The last five Heisman winners all played in the College Football Playoffs and three of them won the National Championship.
Drake Maye and the Tar Heels have some work to do this season with both Clemson and Florida State posing as major conference threats.
If UNC is playing in the ACC Championship game on Dec. 2, there’s a good chance Drake Maye will be firmly in the mix to win the Heisman.
For fans interested in UNC Football odds, there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on Drake Maye this season.
BetMGM currently has Maye at +4000 to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. That’s up +500 from last week.
UNC Tar Heels 2023 Schedule
|Remote location (Charlotte)||Saturday, Sept. 2||6:30 p.m.||South Carolina||W (31-17)|
|Home||Saturday, Sept. 9||4:15 p.m.||Appalachian State||W (40-34) 2OT|
|Home||Saturday, Sept. 16||3:30 p.m.||Minnesota|
|Away||Saturday, Sept. 23||TBA||Pitt|
|Home||Saturday, Oct. 7||TBA||Syracuse|
|Home||Saturday, Oct. 14||TBA||Miami|
|Home||Saturday, Oct. 21||TBA||Virginia|
|Away||Saturday, Oct. 28||TBA||Georgia Tech|
|Home||Saturday, Nov. 4||TBA||Campbell|
|Home||Saturday, Nov. 11||TBA||Duke|
|Away||Saturday, Nov. 18||TBA||Clemson|
|Away||Saturday, Nov. 25||TBA||NC State|
Image Credit: Chris Seward / AP