Former South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst made his NFL debut on Thursday in the Hall Of Fame Game against the Chicago Bears. Hurst was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens as the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He joins former Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, who was the final pick in the first round of the draft.
Hurst started out his athletic career in baseball after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2012 MLB Draft. He had an impressive arm, hitting 97 miles per hour as a pitcher. However, he decided to switch to football instead of continuing his baseball career. He walked on to South Carolina at the age of 21. He declared for the NFL Draft at the end of his Junior year, which included an All-SEC selection. He was projected to be a top five tight end in the draft, but he ended up being the first one selected.
Hurst had a very impressive debut with the Ravens on Thursday when he recorded three receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown, which was thrown from fellow rookie Lamar Jackson. Hurst had one drop, but it came from a big hit from a Chicago defender. Hurst also impressed with his blocking ability, which showed why he was worthy of being the first tight end drafted.
Hurst showed that he has a bright future in the NFL, and he will be back next Thursday when the Ravens face the Rams at home.