Joel Klatt is a big believer in North Carolina in 2023.

The Tar Heels are ranked No. 21 in the country in Klatt’s post-spring top 25 rankings update. There’s 1 major reason why Klatt is backing Carolina heading into 2023: Drake Maye.

Maye was a Heisman Trophy contender until the Tar Heels hit a slump late last season. He’s expected to compete for the award again this season and could be the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Klatt shared some of his optimism for Maye and the Tar Heels in a recent segment.

“North Carolina, they are the top of the next tier because of one name,” Klatt said. “Drake Maye. I trust him, I love him as a player. I got to see him and meet him in preparation for the Holiday Bowl.”

Maye and Tar Heels ultimately fell to Oregon in that game, but Ducks coach Dan Lanning said he came away impressed with how Maye played.

“I was talking with Dan Lanning a few weeks ago and we were talking about that game, the Holiday Bowl … He was like, ‘dude, Drake Maye is unbelievable. He made some throws in that game that not many people in the country can make. Maybe only Caleb Williams is the only other guy that can make some of those plays.”

Here’s video of Klatt’s full thoughts on Carolina:

Last season, Maye threw for 4,321 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also rushed for 698 yards and 7 more scores on the ground.