South Carolina’s “Senior Day” is Saturday against FCS opponent Wofford, but one junior will be honored as well, and that has led to increased speculation that tight end Hayden Hurst will turn pro.
Hurst, 24, played two seasons of minor league baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates before resurrecting his football career. He has developed into one of the best tight ends in the SEC and fits the mold of the “new age” tight end – a guy who can get downfield for a big play.
Hurst (6 feet 5, 250 pounds) also has improved as a blocker in the past year – though he still needs work in that regard – and should he decide to turn pro, he seems likely to go on the second day of the draft. He will be 25 when the 2018 season begins.
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But while he is being honored Saturday, he told The State newspapers of Columbia that he hasn’t made up his mind about bypassing his senior season.
“I’ve thought about it a little bit,” he said. “It’s something me, my dad and my mom are going to talk about and get with Coach (Will) Muschamp and have a decision when the season is over.”
Hurst has 35 receptions for 480 yards and two TDs. Last season, he finished 48 receptions and with 616 yards, setting school records for tight ends in both categories.
Hurst received a baseball scholarship to Florida State out of Jacksonville Bolles but decided to turn pro instead, and spent two years with the Pirates’ organization in the rookie Gulf Coast League, as a pitcher in 2013 and as a first baseman in ’14. He walked-on at South Carolina in 2015.
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