A consensus 4-star prospect in high school, Marcus Maye got Gator fans excited about the future when he pledged his commitment to Florida.
He continued to get fans hyped up about his future in Gainesville as a senior in high school playing in the Under Armour All-American game. In that game, Maye had a blocked punt that went for a safety and followed up the big play with a big Gator chomp on the field.
A two-sport star, Maye was good enough at basketball to earn division one offers for basketball on top of being one of the most highly recruited football players in the state of Florida. His love of basketball eventually put his college career on hold, as he suffered a torn meniscus while playing basketball.
That injury forced Maye to take a redshirt his first year on campus. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, Maye turned the redshirt year into a positive experience by learning as much as he could.
“First year, it was tough, coming out of high school and having to sit another year, watching, nobody likes watching,” Maye said. “Once I realized that I had to take another year off to get myself right, it definitely helped though. Being able to see a few things, get my knee right but now that year is over with. I’m healthy and ready to go.”
The injury motivated Maye but he said he mainly used it as motivation to come back stronger, smarter and better this season.
“It definitely puts things into perspective but most of all, it motivated me to get myself back,” Maye said. “I just wanted to get back to where I was, where I am now and to how I normally play. It allowed me to see things, slow down and just realize that health is first. Once you’re healthy, that’s when you’re able to play full speed.”
Even though he was forced to sit for a season, Maye had two very good examples of what to do on the field at safety last season in Matt Elam and Josh Evans. Elam and Evans were veteran leaders on the team and Maye said he frequently watches film of the former Florida safeties and learned a lot from both of them while they were teammates.
“Just watching and learning to see what those guys did well and to see what they did wrong. I watch those guys a lot on film,” Maye said of Elam and Evans. “Just doing those things, trying to duplicate those things and do more. I have to go out and play my own game, but I learned a lot from them.”
Nothing will be given to him, he knows that, and he is looking forward to the challenge that awaits him.
“The battle at safety is going to be pretty tough,” Maye said. “And we’re all behind each other 100% but at the same time, we’re still competing.”
What separates him from the half dozen other candidates who are all vying for the same role? Maye said that there are some physical aspects to his game that help set him apart but it’s the extra work off the field that prepares him mentally that really makes the difference.
“I feel like I bring a lot with my size and my speed. I can cover but I can also get into the box and play like that,” Maye said. “I felt like I’ve been working and watching film, just being a student, and just learning from the guys that came before me.”