Drake Maye Opens Up on Relationship With Former UNC Teammate Sam Howell and NC State Rivalry

    Drake Maye replaced Sam Howell in North Carolina, and the QB has spoken about possibly reuniting with his old friend in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    North Carolina’s Drake Maye has been one of the most outstanding quarterbacks in college football for the past two seasons. His production and superior traits have NFL teams circling, and he’s set to follow in the footsteps of several other Tar Heel QBs who made the jump to the NFL.

    The dynamic UNC QB is now gearing up for the NFL Draft and recently spoke on the Adam Schefter Podcast about his NFL Draft prospects and college career. He also talked about his friendship with Sam Howell and his relationship with an NC State rival.

    Drake Maye Says Reuniting With Friend Sam Howell Is “Not Ideal”

    Maye enters the 2024 NFL Draft as one of the top quarterbacks and is widely expected to be the second QB off the board when April arrives.

    It isn’t any surprise after his stellar college career where the former UNC QB completed 618 of his 952 passes for 8018 yards, 24 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. He also ran for 1209 more yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

    The hype means there is a chance that the former Tar Heel could head to the Washington Commanders and reunite with the QB he superseded on Chapel Hill, Sam Howell.

    Howell and Maye started their relationship when they overlapped in North Carolina in 2021. Maye was a freshman when Howell was completing his final year. The two QBs built up a lasting friendship that still withstands.

    “[Howell is] one of my best friends,” Maye told Schefter. “Sam has had a big impact on me learning going in there. My freshman year at North Carolina, being his last year, had such great success, seeing how he prepared and how seriously he took it.”

    “I still keep in touch with him and see him. He was just in Chapel Hill the other weekend for the Duke game — we were up there together and playing golf. Big fan of Sam, we keep in touch almost daily.”

    Playing football with your best friends is a dream come true for children across the nation. However, both QBs root for each other and want to see each other succeed.

    “It’s one of those things where it’s not ideal, but at the same time, it’s part of a business,” he said when asked if he wanted to play alongside Howell. Maye wants both former Tar Heels to be starting QBs in the NFL. As a result, if they are on the same roster, only one can win the starting job.

    “We’ve done it in college together; the best thing about it is we’ll help each other, and whether the scenario goes, he’s one of my best friends. Gonna be no hard feelings, it’s part of it. Being in there as two NFL quarterbacks, being in the same room… there’s a lot bigger problems in the world than that.”

    Maye Is Training With an NC State Rival

    Currently training in Mobile, Alabama, Maye has been working with former NC State Wolfpack QB Philip Rivers as he continues to prepare for the NFL Draft.

    The two put their school rivalries aside during training, but Maye couldn’t help but get a dig in on the Adam Schefter podcast.

    “I think the biggest thing about Phil is he stayed healthy for so long in his career,” Maye said on what he had picked up from Rivers throughout training.

    Maye continued, “[He had] such a long career, and I think he played 17 games for like for some crazy stat, 15 straight years or something. So I just picked his brain on how he stayed healthy. He’s a big dude like me, so, just trying to kind of find ways to relate to him.”

    Despite the seriousness of the training, Maye couldn’t help but take a swipe at the Tar Heel’s rival. “And [we’re] both ACC guys. I know he went to the wrong school in the ACC, but some of that same stuff, so just trying to pick his brain,” Maye said.

    Rivers is the all-time leading passer for UNC’s rivals, NC State, completing 1087 of his 1710 passing attempts for 13,484 yards, 95 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions. The former Wolfpack quarterback is one of the greatest at the position and was drafted fourth overall in the 2024 NFL Draft.

    KEEP READING: 2024 ACC Power Rankings

    The rivalry between the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack dates back to 1894 when North Carolina won the inaugural rivalry game 44-0. There have been 113 total meetings, with the Chapel Hill team leading the all-time series 68-39-6.

    However, unfortunately for Maye, North Carolina has been defeated by NC State in the last three outings in his time as a Tar Heel, losing the most recent game 39-20 in November 2023.

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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