The tight ends, wide receivers and quarterbacks will all be on the field Saturday in Indianapolis as the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine rolls on. That means we’ll get to see tight end Hayden Hurst, who many have ranked as the top prospect at his position in this year’s draft class, go through the paces.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly interviewed quite a few tight ends both formally and informally while in Indianapolis this week and Hurst said Friday that he’s currently in the latter of the two groups as he has already talked some to tight end coach James Daniel.
“I believe today I did an informal,” Hurst said when asked if he had talked to Daniel, per video provided by Joe Everett. “We talked really about basic rundown, we didn’t talk a lot of football. But, yeah, I talked to him today.”
Hayden Hurst, South Carolina https://t.co/dEdDkBrZD8
— Joe Everett (@JoeWEverett) March 2, 2018
Hurst, who measured in at the combine at 6044, 250-pounds, has already had a history of sorts with Pittsburgh as it relates to sports as he spent two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization after being drafted by them in the 17th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. This was even after overcoming Tommy John surgery on his right arm that he had undergone while he was still in the eighth grade.
Hurst, however, suffered from the yips that caused him to throw wildly and he ultimately decided to switch from baseball to football. After arriving at South Carolina as a walk-on wide receiver in 2015, Hurst was moved to tight end. That experience was detailed some on Friday by Hurst and you can read more about it in this August article by Josh Kendall of The State.
The young tight end even said Friday that his dad was born in Monroeville, which is located about 15 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh. As far as his favorite NFL teams go, Hurst, who was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL, said Friday he cheered on both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Steelers growing up. As you can imagine, he was quite a conflicted fan several weeks ago when those two teams met in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
“I was torn, man, it was tough,” Hurst said of that playoff game between the Jaguars and Steelers that Jacksonville obviously won.
In his three seasons at South Carolina, Hurst recorded 100 receptions for 1,281 yards and 3 touchdowns. However, 92 of those receptions for 1,175 yards and all three touchdowns came during the last two seasons as a tight end.
Many draft analysts have Hurst being the first tight end selected in this year’s draft and even if that isn’t ultimately the case, he’s still likely to hear his name called somewhere during the first two rounds. In short, it’s probably unlikely that Hurst winds up a member of the Steelers as they would more than likely need to draft in the first round. Regardless, Hurst will be a fun player to watch perform on Saturday in Indianapolis because of his previous connection to Pittsburgh.