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Drake Maye gets the call as North Carolina QB starter

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina is going with redshirt freshman Drake Maye as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s opener against Florida A&M. Coach Mack Brown announced Maye as the winner Monday of the preseason competition to become the opening night starter. He had been competing with third-year sophomore Jacolby Criswell to get the first shot at replacing star quarterback Sam Howell, who is now in the NFL. “We just felt like Drake…

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AP — CHAPEL HILL, N.C. For Saturday’s opening game against Florida A&M, North Carolina will start redshirt freshman Drake Maye as quarterback.

Maye won the preseason competition to start the season on Monday, according to coach Mack Brown. He had been vying with third-year sophomore Jacolby Criswell for the opportunity to succeed the now-NFL great quarterback Sam Howell.

Drake should have gone out there first, we simply felt,” Brown added.

Maye and Criswell, who according to Brown will get his chance, were not far apart, according to the Tar Heels’ head coach.

“We’ll insert the other quarterback if the first one isn’t moving the ball. Each of us will get a chance, Brown added.

Maye, whose brother Luke was a star for the Tar Heels basketball team and contributed to their 2017 NCAA championship, is the son of former UNC quarterback Mark Maye. In-state recruit Maye made his initial commitment to Alabama.

Maye has played in just two games and completed 10 passes while in college. However, both players lack experience given that Criswell has only played in seven games and attempted 25 passes.

Given that both quarterbacks had been with the team for at least a year, Brown had stated in the preseason that the strategy was to force both quarterbacks through camp in an effort to distance them from one another.

Josh Downs, a receiver, was at least one of Maye’s top targets. Downs finished last season among the Bowl Subdivision leaders with 1,335 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Tar Heels are playing their earliest season opener since Aug. 25, 2001, when they played at Oklahoma. __ For more AP college football, visit https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and follow us on Twitter at @AP Top25.