Maye doing it all for Minnesota offense

The senior wide receiver leads the team in receptions so far this season.

Wide receiver KJ Maye enters the end zone, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday where the Gophers defeated Kent State 10-7.

Liam James Doyle, Daily File Photo

Wide receiver KJ Maye enters the end zone, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday where the Gophers defeated Kent State 10-7.

Mike Hendrickson

Senior KJ Maye has done a little bit of everything on the field this season.
 
The wide receiver leads the team with 22 receptions, three touchdowns and 256 receiving yards. He’s also been involved in the running game with 17 yards on four rushing attempts. 
 
But in his last game against Purdue, Maye and the Gophers ran a trick play which involved the former high school quarterback taking a toss from redshirt junior Mitch Leidner and slinging it right back to the Gophers starting quarterback for a 16-yard gain.
 
“I really didn’t think they were going to call that,” Maye said. “Brought me back to my glory days a little bit. I wish it was longer; I wanted to sling it about 50 yards.”
 
The play was fun for Maye, and it came at a point where the Gophers were beating Purdue 24-6 — the largest lead of the season.
 
Even though it’s a small sample size, Maye’s completion percentage on the season now stands at 100 percent.
 
Head coach Jerry Kill said Maye hasn’t talked to him about throwing the ball more and joked it’s because the wide receiver wants his completion percentage to remain perfect.
 
Passing skills aside, Maye has stepped into a leadership role this season for Minnesota on offense. 
 
“I feel like I just stand out more because I’m a senior now,” Maye said. “I’m one of the older guys on the team. Besides the coaches, it’s me or the other seniors [leading] the team. It’s just standing out more, but I’ve been that kind of person.”
 
With the younger receivers, Maye said he and the coaches emphasize run blocking, something the new players aren’t used to doing.
 
“It’s hard to grasp your mind around the fact that when you’re not getting the ball, you still have to play hard, you have to do your job for your teammates,” Maye said. “You’re still a part of the play even though you’re not getting the ball. You have to do your job.”
 
Offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said Maye’s blocking against Purdue last weekend stood out. 
 
“KJ Maye was a grown man on a couple plays down there near the goal line,” Limegrover said. “He’s diving down in there at [the] safety, throwing his body in there, and those guys will get rewarded, and they do get rewarded.”
 
With six games remaining in his career, Maye is on pace for his best season on the field. The only thing that would make it better is one extra pass attempt.
 
“I want to throw another one,” Maye said. “I’m going to complete the next one. I feel like I will. If we call those plays, I feel like we can execute them. To keep that going, it’s looking pretty good right now.”