JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Playing under a microscope is something that Hayden Hurst is very familiar with. It's just the last time he played professionally it was baseball not football.
By the time he was a senior at Bolles, he was already throwing in the low 90's. In 2012 Hurst was drafted in the 17th round of the MLB draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I was drafted as a pitcher and played three years in their system,” said Hurst of his experience in the Pirates farm system. “I struggled through a lot of things and developed the yips, lost my fastball. I battled that for three years.”
For a number of reasons that didn't work out so he walked on to play football at South Carolina.
“I called one of my good buddies from back home and he put me in contact with Steve Spurrier Jr. which helped me walk on at South Carolina,” said Hurst.”
As a tight end he caught 48 passes in 2016 and 44 this past season which led to him being a first team All-SEC selection.
Hurst will be 25-years-old in August and is likely going to be one of the top tight ends taken in this year's NFL draft. Having a second chance to play professionally is something that Hurst doesn't take for granted.
“Having the ability to be drafted in one sport and now in a couple of months in my second sport, I’m just humbled and blessed to be in this situation.”
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