You will have to forgive Marcus Maye if he won't feel like a visitor Sunday. The Jets' rookie safety, a native of Melbourne, FL, will have more than 20 supporters at Hard Rock Stadium when the Jets and Dolphins square off in a Week 7 divisional tilt.
"I got the whole city coming," he said.
A second-round pick of the Jets last April, Maye played collegiately at the University of Florida and appeared in 45 games while recording five interceptions, 22 pass defenses and seven forced fumbles. Now seven games into his pro career, he'll celebrate a homecoming of sorts.
"It's going to be great. I remember my first college game being in Florida and everybody coming to it. But now that this is my first professional game and I feel like there will be even more," he said. "It's going to be a lot of excitement and a ton of support because a lot of friends and family from Melbourne, FL are driving down to see the game."
Maye has played a large role for a secondary who has quietly become one of the Jets' top strengths. Through six weeks, the Green & White rank tied for sixth in opponent completion percentage (59.0), eighth in opposition passer rating (81.7) and seventh in yards per attempt (6.44).
"It means a lot. It goes to show you the talent we have in our room, the great job our coaches are doing in our room," he said. "Since we got here, I feel like we've been getting closer and closer and it's showing up on the field. We've been playing pretty good, but not anywhere where we want to be. There's always room for improvement. We're always looking to get better each week. The love in our room and our group that we have for each other is big."
Maye, who has totaled 29 tackles in the early going, is the quarterback of a backfield that isn't letting the ball go over their heads and is getting their hands on more balls. An exceptional open-field tackler, Maye embraces each of his roles.
"The task can never be too big. I like a lot of responsibility, it makes it that much more enjoyable," he said. "It's been great. I've just been trying to do my job, get everyone lined up and make sure everybody is on the same page. Get as many tackles down as I can, saving touchdowns and things like that. I'm just out there trying to do my job the best I can."
With family and friends in the stands, Maye has an important business trip ahead. He knows the Dolphins will be ready for a return matchup after they absorbed a 20-6 drubbing at MetLife Stadium back in Week 3.
"We can't get ahead of ourselves. We can't roll our hats out and that's going to win us a game because it's not," he said. "They're not just going to let us do what we did last time. They're going to be ready to play. They're at their place. After the way the game went the first time, they're going to be ready. We just have to stick to what we know and we have to continue to get better. We can't get complacent."