This top QB prospect is just trying to keep pace with his brothers

Yahoo Sports
Drake Maye has plenty of big-time connections to UNC, which is why Mack Brown's program has a chance at the 2021 QB. (Jacob Turner/Rivals)
Drake Maye has plenty of big-time connections to UNC, which is why Mack Brown's program has a chance at the 2021 QB. (Jacob Turner/Rivals)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif — If the pinnacle of parenting is watching your children succeed, Mark Maye has had a decent week.

It started in Las Vegas, watching his son Luke, a former All-ACC first team player take the court for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA’s Summer League. Roughly 300 miles in a rented Dodge Durango later, it’s ending here at the QB Collective where Mark’s youngest, Drake, is soaking in mentorship from the likes of Mike Shanahan and Matt LaFleur.

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“I wouldn't rather be doing anything else,” Mark said.

The Maye family has produced a slew of athletes dating back to Mark’s days as a quarterback at the University of North Carolina. Mom, Aimee, starred as a high school basketball player at West Charlotte. The eldest, Luke, hit a buzzer-beater for UNC to beat Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA tournament and eventually won the national championship. The next oldest, Cole, would win a national championship as a pitcher for the Florida Gators a few months later. There’s also Beau, who’s had a nondescript high school career due to injuries but nonetheless stands at 6-foot-10 entering his final high school basketball season.

Last comes perhaps the most athletic of them all, Drake, who spent Thursday at Westlake High School throwing footballs with other top quarterback recruits such as class of 2020 products Dj Uiagalelei and Bryce Young. A four-star signal caller out of Myers Park High School in North Carolina, Drake threw for 3,201 yards and 36 touchdowns in 13 games as a sophomore last fall. The 10th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2021 currently holds offers from Alabama, Clemson and, of course, UNC, among others.

At 6-foot-4, Drake flaunts a frame reminiscent of his basketball brothers, though a little shorter, and can sling the ball with a strong arm, counselors at the QB Collective said.

“Fundamentally, he’s a kid who looks like he could benefit from some technical coaching,” said Will Hewlett, a private quarterback coach who’s a counselor at the QB Collective. “But you could tell that he’s from a family of athletes because of the way he moved and threw the ball and had a good feel for the position.”

Growing up in an athletic household has helped mold Drake. The brothers competed in a slew of sports, from non-contact activities like ping-pong to football or a surprisingly physical form of basketball. The goal was always to avoid injuries. With boys ranging from Drake at 6-foot-4 to Beau at 6-foot-10, Mark often intervened as ref in basketball games.

“They'd get pretty spirited out there,” Mark said. “It became really kind of physical and almost were football games. Last couple points there weren't many fouls being called.”

Luke Maye of the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaw/teams/n-carolina/" data-ylk="slk:North Carolina Tar Heels">North Carolina Tar Heels</a> reacts during a game against Duke at the ACC men's basketball tournament. (Getty)
Luke Maye of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts during a game against Duke at the ACC men's basketball tournament. (Getty)

Drake has watched Luke’s rise to stardom closely. He saw his brother transition from a walk-on to one of the best players in the ACC. Drake said his brother is always in the gym, though they don’t often work out together. The regimens for the different sports don’t match up; for Drake it’s more a lesson in work ethic anyway.

Luke played quarterback growing up but quit before high school to focus on basketball. So his advice to his brother isn’t football specific. Mark coached Drake from when he started playing in first grade through eighth grade but tries to stay out of it, too. He didn’t want to hammer technical aspects at a young age, and now lets Drake hear them from other sources.

“[Luke] is a great role model as a big brother because he's always working, shooting,” Drake said.

The Maye boys frequent the golf course now. Both Drake and Mark agree Luke is the best with a club in his hand but Mark thinks his youngest son may be the most athletic. The quarterback prospect has more raw speed, jumps further and moves better laterally than his older brothers.

During the on-field session at the QB Collective on Thursday, Maye’s throws exploded out of his hand. He fired balls so quickly and accurately during a fast-paced catch-and-throw drill that a counselor emphatically applauded when Drake finished.

Drake’s favorite quarterback to study is Aaron Rodgers. Like Rodgers, Drake doesn't define himself as a dual threat, but thinks his ability to move in the pocket and skirt upfield when necessary can be difference makers.

He’s not sure if he’ll end up UNC like his eldest brother and father. It’s still too early in the process for the rising junior. But the pressure of being a younger brother has always been there. And though Drake doesn’t often feel it, he knows the success his brothers’ teams reached in college. He’s seen the rings. And no matter where he ends up, he’ll always want to top the other Mayes.

“Hopefully football takes me to the national championship,” Drake Maye said. “But you never know.”

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