Throughout the summer, National Scout Jon Ledyard, Assistant Director Joe Marino and Scouting Director Kyle Crabbs will be conducting summer assessments on 99 notable senior prospects. Of these 99 seniors, the 33 most prominent will be covered by all three analysts.
Of the remaining 66, each of the three analysts has “drafted” 22 of them to scout exclusively.
This serves as the foundation for our 2018 draft assessments.
Scout: Jon Ledyard
Name: Maurice Hurst
Position: Defensive Tackle
Date of Birth: 5/9/1995
High School: Xaverian Brothers (Mass.)
Games Played: 33
Games Started: 4
Team Captain: No
Production: 72 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 19 tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery.
High School: Consensus 4-star defensive tackle prospect. Father played for the Patriots. Selected to the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association All-State Team twice (2011-12). Turned down offers from Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, North Carolina and others to attend Michigan.
College: 2015-16 Academic All-Big Ten. Deep rotation and plenty of NFL-caliber talent has kept Hurst from full-time workload.
Strengths: Good athlete with ideal twitch and mobility for the position. Despite listed size, rarely pushed off the ball or out-muscled for position at the point of attack. Very physical player whose motor always run hot. Stays leveraged off the ball with a strong step to contact to get his hands into the chest of his opponent. Drops anchor against double teams with shocking stability. Will snap jump at times, but has a good first step and forward lean into his upfield burst, reducing surface area for blockers to obtain control of his frame. One-gap penetrating type who can create negative plays for opposing offenses. Explodes up into blocker’s pads as a bull rusher. Flashes a swim move. Will attack offensive linemen’s edges and employs a rip move to trim a sharper angle to the pocket. Has good range to chase ball carriers to sideline and make plays in space. Flexibility to bend around blockers to the pocket on twists. Played and had consistent success as both a 1 and 3 technique. Even took the occasional rep at defensive end, rushing off the edge. Did things to Florida State’s offensive line that were NSFW.
Weaknesses: Lets his elbows get hinged and creates minimal space between himself and blocker with limited arm extension. This impacts his ability to stack and shed and get off blocks quickly in the trenches. Needs to play with his eyes up off the ball to read his keys at the point of attack. Will occasionally get too overextended in his forward lean and lose balance. Great potential in his hand work, but moves can be more precise and detailed. Still learning to string moves together as a pass rusher. Counter moves aren’t in the repertoire yet. Doesn’t always have a plan of attack on passing downs. Needs to finish more consistently as a tackler. Played as part of a rotation at Michigan and will need to show he can shoulder a heavy workload while maintaining his effectiveness.
Summary: Thanks to the presence of Chris Wormley, Ryan Glasgow and Taco Charlton, Hurst only saw the field rotationally over the past few years, but his effectiveness has been clear nonetheless. The redshirt senior had some buzz around his name when he went back to school, and likely would have been a top 100 pick if he came out early. But Hurst decided to return to see if he could work his way into the first round with more playing time, and based on what I saw on tape, he’s got a pretty good shot.
Hurst reminds me of the Green Bay Packers’ Mike Daniels, a one-gap penetrating type with a good first step and terrific range behind the line of scrimmage. I greatly value defensive linemen who can create negative plays against the run and the pass, and Hurst does that consistently when he’s on the field. He’s only listed at 282 pounds, but in four games I never once saw him truly pushed around 1v1 at the point of attack, even by double teams. Hurst consistently played both the 1 and 3 technique spots with equal propensity, and while he won’t be a nose in the NFL, he has the leverage and power to hold up there when teams want to roll out smaller fronts for pass-likely downs.
Hurst explodes off the snap and gets his hands fitted immediately, showing the ability to re-set the line of scrimmage with power and leverage. His pad level and reduced surface area make him extremely difficult for opposing offensive linemen to really get into his pads and control him. Hurst will need to learn to make full use of his arm extension and not defend body-to-body so often, which will allow him to work off blocks quicker. He has the power and quickness to be a deadly starting 3 technique against the run, but he’ll need to wrap up better and keep his eyes up to process blocks quicker, especially against zone schemes.
As a pass rusher Hurst offers a ton of promise, from his quick first step to his violent energy in 1v1 situations. He’ll work his hands frantically to pressure the pocket, finding his opponent’s edge with a rip or club move. The precision and sophistication to his attacks are still hit or miss, as Hurst needs to learn to set up his opponent’s better and access a counter move when he’s initially stymied. All the tools are there however, and a quick swim move against jump sets came out more and more as the season went on.
A big role should be in store for Hurst this season, and he has all the talent to be a dominant force for Michigan’s defense. There are elements of his game that need work, both mentally and technically, but there is little reason to believe those aspects won’t come along in time. Given Hurst’s motor, excellence in the class room and NFL bloodlines, there will be plenty of reason for coaches to be excited about the intangibles that he brings to the table, as well as the tantalizing on-field tools.
Predicted Value Range: 1st-2nd Round