Brandon Maye Is Trying to Prove Himself

Story posted April 11, 2012 in NFL Draft by Patrick Woo.


After going from standout freshman and sophomore seasons to a position change and a family situation, linebacker Brandon Maye suddenly faced more obstacles in his journey to the National Football League.

As a redshirt freshman at Clemson in 2008, Maye started 12 games at Mike linebacker and finished the season ranked second in the ACC in fumble recoveries. In 2009, he set the Clemson single-season record for forced fumbles.

"I took pride in flying around and making plays," Maye said, noting that his style of play was about "setting the tone" defensively.

Maye transformed into a team leader in those first two seasons. But he was then asked to change from the Mike linebacker position to the Will linebacker position.

Statistics showed a drop in production in his junior season. Maye explained that in Clemson's defensive scheme, the Will linebacker would be off the field against no-tight end sets, sets that Clemson often faced as teams moved towards spread formations. That subsequent lack of time on the field led to Maye's statistical decrease.

When Maye underwent a knee scope, questions about his durability arose. But Maye hopes to put those concerns to rest.

“I had a couple nicks and bruises there, but nothing ever major,” he said. “I want teams to know that I was durable for most of my time in college.”

Meanwhile, in his personal life, Maye was having sleepless nights worrying about his parents, who had to drive from their home in Alabama to watch him play games at Clemson. He stayed up at night worrying about car accidents.

Then, when Maye's grandmother came down with congestive heart failure, Maye decided that he had to go somewhere close to home. So Maye transferred to Mississippi State, a university much closer to his family's home.


“It was easy for me to come home on the weekends and summertime,” he said. “I had a chance to spend some quality time.”

In a landscape where football has become the top priority for so many people, Maye knew the importance of family and academics being first.

“[My parents] are always harped on being different," he said. "Not just being a football player but being somebody that goes to class and actually take class serious.”

On the field at Mississippi State, Maye did not put up the numbers he would have liked, but the stat sheet is never the whole story.

“What separates people in the NFL is the mental aspect of the game,” Maye said he learned from Baltimore Ravens great Ray Lewis. “I pick up playbooks real, real fast.”

Maye had to develop such skills after playing for three different defensive coordinators during his college football career.

With family concerns, academic worries and positional changes all weighing down on Maye, it became difficult for him to stay on track as a top NFL prospect. As a result, he fell off the radar of many teams.

With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, this is now his time to shine once again with a new beginning. He proved himself as a freshman at Clemson and he’s determined to prove himself as a rookie in the NFL.

"I'm a guy that's just going to have to continue to work hard and do the things that's asked of me and turn it up more and more," he said. "[I have to] show people when I get my opportunity, I can seize the moment."


Patrick Woo is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and is a ComRadio Sports Director. To contact him, email