UNC Football: If Drake Maye is Drafted Number One, Tar Heels would join Elite Company

North Carolina will join exclusive company if the UNC football star Drake Maye is selected No. 1 overall in the upcoming NFL Draft.

North Carolina v Clemson
North Carolina v Clemson / Isaiah Vazquez/GettyImages

It is no secret that the UNC Football program has had one of the best quarterbacks in the nation over the past two seasons with Drake Maye. Maye announced last week that he would forego his remaining eligibility and enter his name into the 2024 NFL Draft with the likelihood of being a top-five pick in April.

Some analysts and experts believe that Maye could very well be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, depending on which franchise ends up in that spot. If Maye is selected with the first selection, he would make history for the UNC Football program, becoming the first Tar Heel ever to be selected No. 1 overall.

He would make history in that regard and also help the University of North Carolina join some exclusive company in college sports history with the No. 1 overall pick, making the Tar Heels just the third school with a No. 1 overall selection in the three major sports of the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

It is no secret that the North Carolina Athletic Department is dominant across all sports, and one could argue they have produced the greatest women's soccer player (Mia Hamm), greatest men's basketball player (Michael Jordan), and greatest football defensive player (Lawrence Taylor) ever. The Tar Heels would join LSU and UCLA as the only programs ever to produce the No. 1 overall pick in all three major sports, though.

LSU has produced three No. 1 overall picks in the NFL, with Billy Cannon (1960), JaMarcus Russell (2007) and Joe Burrow (2020). The Tigers also have two NBA No. 1 selections all-time, with Shaquille O'Neal in 1994 and Ben Simmons in 2016. LSU has been dominant in the MLB Draft as well, with three No. 1 picks. Eric Hetzel in 1985, Ben McDonald in 1989, and most recently, Paul Skenes in 2023.

UCLA hasn't produced as many picks as the Tigers have but still has great names on their list of No. 1 selections. The Bruins have produced Troy Aikman (No. 1 pick in the 1989 NFL Draft), Gerrit Cole (No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft), and two NBA No. 1 overall picks (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1969 and Bill Walton in 1974).

Maye would join two former UNC basketball players who have been drafted No. 1 overall, James Worthy (1982) and Brad Daugherty (1986), both having been selected with the top spot in the NBA Draft. Two former Diamond Heels have been selected No. 1 overall with Dave Lemonds in 1968 and B.J. Surhoff in 1985.

Will Maye be selected No. 1 overall in April? Only time will tell. If he is, the University of North Carolina will join this exclusive group of schools to have a top selection across the three major sports.

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