Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Marcus Maye Says Family, Mentors Are Biggest Blessing
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Senior Editor // May 11, 2018
HOLY TRINITY GRAD WAS ALL-AMERICAN AT UF
2018 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: Florida Gator Safety Marcus Maye was named first-team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus and earned first-team All-American recognition from USA Today and PFF after the 2015 season. Mayes was a standout four-sport athlete at Holy Trinity and is now with the New York Jets.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In a day and age when young superstar athletes forget to reflect, respect, remember or care about the people and place they came from, it’s refreshing to have former West Melbourne youth football, Holy Trinity Tiger, Florida Gator and now New York Jets superstar Marcus Maye represent and call the Space Coast home.
While Maye feels blessed to have a God-given athletic ability and a skill set that allowed him to be a second-round draft pick of the Jets, his biggest blessings in life, says Marcus, is his family and the people and coaches that helped him get to where he is.
“I’ve always had a tremendous amount of support,” said Maye. “My brother Shawn never missed any of my games at any level. He kept me straight and made me realize I could be here. My mom, Beverly, is my number one hero. She worked two, sometimes three jobs, all shifts but always made sure I was up for school, was at practice and made sure I grew up the right way.”
How appreciative is Maye for his support, when asked what sticks out the most in his young career he said, “graduating high school and college, playing in the Under-Amour high school game and the biggest thrill was being with my family in Melbourne Beach when I got the call I was being drafted.”
From his days on the youth football fields to his time in the “Swamp,” Maye mentioned every coach. Tyrone Dixon, Coach Jack, Billy Palmer, Daryl Durand in West Melbourne at Holy Trinity it was Eddie Edwards, Mark Ainsley, Tracy Biggs and Greg Simmons.
Marcus considers Biggs and Simmons integral to his success in high school and in getting to Gainesville.
“Coach Biggs helped me so much I can’t even count the number of times he was there for me,” said Maye. “He helped me sort it all out, recruiting, playing and staying right off the field. He and Greg Simmons were life coaches to me at Holy Trinity and beyond.”
Holy Trinity basketball coach Steve Henderson introduced Marcus to sunrise workouts and helped him understand the importance of work ethic, which subsequently led to offers to play college basketball as Marcus excelled in hoops as well
Football and basketball weren’t the only sports Maye starred. With 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, Marcus ran track and also played baseball. He was a four-sport star and four-star prospect in every sport. Ranked as one of the five best safeties in the entire country, his athleticism afforded him versatility. He recorded four interceptions and 45 tackles on defense, and on offense, rushed for 712 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior running back.
Maye only threw three passes at Holy Trinity but completed them all and two were touchdowns. Highly recruited, Marcus elected to stay as close to his support as he could and attended the University of Florida over Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and LSU.
Before moving on to college Maye competed in the highly coveted Under Armour All-America Game. He then redshirted his first year but played in all 12 games and made two starts at safety in his first season on the field in 2013 for the Gators.
He would then become a mainstay in the Gator secondary, as Maye registered 144 tackles, three interceptions, 14 passes defended and caused an astounding seven forced fumbles in his sophomore and junior seasons.
Many speculated he would enter the NFL Draft following his junior season, but Maye chose to return for his senior season. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to finish the year because he broke his left arm on Senior Day against South Carolina.
He still finished fourth on the Gators with 50 total tackles, had one pick, defended six passes and registered a quarterback sack. Maye was named first-team All-SEC by Pro Football Focus and earned first-team All-American recognition from USA Today and PFF after the 2015 season.
Maye’s draft stock soared after a good NFL combine and Pro Day. However, as future gridiron greats prepared to attend the NFL Draft and walk across the stage in Chicago, he stayed in Florida preparing to walk across a different stage in Gainesville.
Maye made a promise to his mother that he’d walk across the stage during his graduation ceremony, which took place the day after he was drafted – a promise he kept.
“If I make a promise to anybody I want to follow it through – and this one was to my mom,” said Maye, who completed work toward a degree in African American studies
He waited for only seven picks into Round 2 before he received the call and watched on TV as former Jets great Joe Klecko announced his name as New York’s selection. Maye was right where he wanted to be, in his mother’s living room in Melbourne Beach, where he was surrounded by family and friends.
He started all 16 games during an impressive rookie campaign for the Jets, recording his first NFL interception in just his fifth game preventing a Cleveland Browns touchdown late in the first half. The interception was vital as it came on third down and prevented at least three points in what was eventually a 17-14 Jets win.
In all, Maye recorded 77 total tackles, added one more interception, defended two passes and forced one fumble for the Jets in his first season.
Marcus’ biggest motivation in life and what drove him to succeed was the November 2010 shooting death of his best friend and Melbourne Bulldog basketball star, Shaquille Farrie. An unsolved tragedy that still pushes Marcus to succeed everyday for him and Shaquille.
So how does Marcus see his success?
“With all of the love and support I’ve had and have, failure is not an option,” said Maye. “I don’t want to disappoint or let anyone down that has helped me get to this point. I just want to work hard, help the Jets win and serve my community.”
Spoken like a true Hall of Famer.
THE 2018 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 11. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2018 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com