TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina*

6’4″ – 250 lbs. – 4.67

Started one of twelve games played as a freshman, then spent the past two seasons as a starter, being named a team captain in 2016. Overaged; will turn twenty-five at the beginning of next season after spending two seasons playing minor league baseball. Lines up all over the field: as a flex tight end, in the slot, as more of a receiver, and inline. Projects as more of a flex tight end/receiving specialist at the next level. Doesn’t play as big as his listed size but is a classic height-weight-speed prospect. Very fast for a tight end; wheels are his greatest asset as a player. Could develop into a threat running patterns down the seams and down the sidelines on wheel routes. Was able to blow past zone coverages and pick up chunks of yardage in college, with an extra gear to run away from defenders. Put together two years of impressive production catching the ball despite playing for a team with very poor play at quarterback; does a good job of adjusting to inaccurate passes away from his frame. Didn’t have a lot of nuance to his routes at the college level and will need to diversify his tree but flashes the ability to sink his hips and accelerate out of the route stem. Functional strength is lacking at this point; looks a little bit thin and can be disrupted by chip blocks and press coverage when releasing. Also carries the ball at times on speed sweeps from motion. Gives good effort as a blocker and has the range to reach defenders at the second level, but is a little bit narrow and sometimes struggles to square up opponents, get leverage, and extend his arms. Does a lot of crack blocks from motion and some limited pass protection. Was trusted enough to lead the way on outside rushing attempts on a fairly regular basis and has the potential to contribute as a blocker at the next level but is a little bit raw. Has clear athletic gifts, being one of the more explosive tight end prospects in recent memory, and the fact that he was able to put together two productive seasons despite poor quarterback play suggests he may have a future as a receiving option at the next level. Although he’s a little bit raw, especially for an older prospect, those traits seem likely to make him one of the first tight ends drafted.

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