"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be in his final year of eligibility, hold at least a 3.2 grade-point average and "have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship."
"That was one of those plays that was real contact courage," Harbaugh said of Chesson’s block. "He just went and made a real, hearty block. I was happy to see that. Darboh is doing the same thing, and Ways is doing the same thing at a higher level than most receivers you’re ever going to find."
"The Wildcats' endzone might as well be the moon; sure it is possible to go there, and it's been done in the past, but opposing teams are wondering if they have the manpower and the short-sleeved white button-down shirts to engineer a way there and how are they going to convince the government to give them the resources to try in this economy."
Also here's a lot of stuff from the Semper Fi game:
Junior highlights come highly recommended since they include a lot of Hurst being a terrifying/hilarious running back. Stay for the first TD run at 30 seconds.
I am trying to keep things reasonable around these parts, but I watched Maurice Hurst's highlight reel and now I'm impressed. You know those defensive line drills where you start out in a stance and then burst upwards into a fake opponent's chest? Maurice Hurst is going to be awesome at that. Also now I'm just going to grab that run and put it right here because it is delightful:
“We tell all the college coaches he’s a defensive lineman and that’s what they’re recruiting him as, then all these defensive coordinators, this guy from Michigan, Billy McGovern from BC, they come in and sit down and they go, ‘Oh ya, that 75-yard touchdown was unbelievable.’
“Billy McGovern says he ran it back and asked all the guys in the room, ‘Do we have anyone who can do that?’ They go, ‘No.’ Well OK, we’re offering him.’’
Michigan fired out an offer to him as well and that was about that. Hurst is a high-academic kid who had an OSU offer but was looking for something else…
"Academics are my big priority. Football ends, so I want a degree that will last a lifetime, one that is more than a piece of paper. UVa and Michigan are tremendous schools and offer prestigious degrees."
…and cut his list to Michigan and Virginia—a pattern emerges—before a visit to Ann Arbor sealed the deal last June.
Michigan has won themselves a quick first step attached to a body. That body is not enormous like Ondre Pipkins's or a single pulsating muscle like Mike Martin's. Hurst does not pass the look test… until you snap the ball.
When Hurst was a freshman, the first thing Stevenson noticed wasn’t his size, his competitiveness, or his skills. It was his first step.
“I think probably the first indication to me was my defensive coordinator Al Fornaro said, ‘You’ve got to see this guy come off the ball.’ I looked and went yay. … I would compare his first step to a kid who played for us the late ’90s, Scott Bradley. Scott had a tremendous first step and that was the thing that sold all the coaches on Scotty, that first step. The difference between the two is that Scotty was 215 pounds, Mo is 295 pounds. If you’re 295 and can do what a 215-pounder does, you’re a good football player.’’
This is the first time in the history of this series it has caught a hard-nosed gravel-eating sonsabitch high school football coach describing something as "yay."
Hurst wasn't much of a camp guy, only appearing at one area event when he was a rising junior, but he left a similar impression.
… has a nice frame that can still add weight but what really stands out about him is his quickness off the ball and his light feet. Hurst beat most of his opponents with his first step and he was able to win the leverage game most of the time as well. At times he can be too upright and present too much of a target. His footwork is excellent and he has natural balance, and he is very good at responding quickly to the initial punch of offensive linemen. He also showed a good motor.
Every evaluation continues in a similar vein. Rivals praises his "great burst first step" in their Areas of Improvement(!) for him by mentioning he needs to use it more consistently. They're just going off his highlight film but they also like his technique:
Hurst uses his hands extremely well for a young player. On each play he is seen using his hands to control his opponent, quickly dismissing a block, or maintaining leverage as he pursues the ball carrier. Good balance is critical for interior line play and Hurst shows that with impressive body control.
In other news of a similar variety:
Coach: "He's a great athlete…. His first step off the line of scrimmage is very strong, and he's very powerful."
An opposing coach: "We tried to run away from him but sometimes that's worse because he's so quick."
Scout's take: "Hurst is athletic, explosive, moves his feet well, has a few nice techniques he uses to get into the backfield and runs well for a defensive lineman."
On the downside, ESPN's evaluation is heavy on words like "capable," "flashes," "adequate," and "consistently." Unlike some ESPN profiles, the drapes do match the carpet here. It sounds like a three-star eval.
…capable of being disruptive. … You would like to see more consistency but displays a good first-step that can allow him to quickly get penetration. He is at his best when he can fire out and primarily be a penetrator that disrupts schemes. Flashes the ability to be tough when taking on blockers as he can quickly fire out low and gain leverage and with solid strength hold his ground. While he does possess a quick first-step he can at times almost as quickly pop up and play tall and needs to work to consistently keep his pads down. … Hurst is capable of quickly getting off the ball and being disruptive and if he can continue to maintain that while adding size and rounding out his game he can develop into a good and productive college defensive tackle.
Despite some impressive offers, Hurst's visibility was pretty low for much of his recruitment. The competition level in Massachusetts is… uh… not high, and after that one camp before his junior year Hurst ditched the camp scene.
Hurst's relative obscurity was somewhat lifted by his appearance at the Semper Fi game. While Semper Fi is clearly #3 in the All Star pecking order it's still a major step up in competition for everybody there, let alone a guy tossing around MA kids. Hurst did well, acquiring a sack on one of his first snaps in the game itself and impressing everyone in practice. 247 Pitt analyst Bob Lichtenfels is just answering Pitt questions here and drops in a Hurst mention:
“He struggled between plays,” said northeast recruiting analyst Brian Dohn. “It looked like he could barely move. Once the ball snapped, he was a complete animal. His explosion is terrific. His aggressiveness and ability to get underneath lineman is tremendous. And what impressed me the most about him, was beside his physical ability, was the toughness he showed in practicing for two days when he was just sick as a dog.”
Hurst is the type of player that you don’t really notice when he’s standing in the huddle but as soon as the ball is snapped, he shows up quickly. His play on Wednesday was characterized by high effort, an intensity to get to the football, and quickness to get into the backfield. The Michigan commit has been one of the better practice players this week.
247 and Scout moved them into their top lists as a solid four star; Rivals barely covered Semper Fi, apparently sending one guy to cover 100 or so players. Hurst didn't get a mention in the one article about who might be good on his team.
Michigan projects Hurst will add a ton of weight, telling his coach they think he'll end up pushing 330 pounds. That would make him a nose all the way. That'll also take a bit of time. While he's bulking up he may find some time as a three-tech. He's got the burst to be effective there and is already larger than Jibreel Black; while I expect a redshirt since Michigan seems to have a solid two deep (or more) at both spots Hurst can play, playing time could come as early as next year if he has the versatility to play two spots.
Etc.: Hurst's senior year stats were eye-popping as you might expect from a kid headed to Michigan playing against Massachusetts folk: 23 TFLs and 11 sacks. At press time, Hurst's most recent tweet is "Need food" and his location is "A BACKFIELD NEAR YOU." Instagram is something. TTB interview. Tap dancing!
Tell us something that most people do not know about you?
MH: Most people do not know that when I was younger from first grade until about fifth grade I took tap dancing and I really believe that it helped me with my foot work on the football field.
On the difficulty of his decision: "Not that difficult. After coming in, there was just that feeling, 'What if I went somewhere else?' or 'What if I committed when I thought I could go to another school?' At first I thought I was gonna commit to BC, then I thought I was gonna go to Virginia. Then Michigan came along, and I knew this was the school I wanted to go to."
"He's a great kid," Stevenson said. "He's a captain for next year. He's a good worker in the weight room, he's a good leader for his teammates as far as his work ethic, and I've never heard anything negative from his teachers. He's done some community service helping with the elderly, helping at a shelter for abused women, and at a place where they provide help to feed the poor."
Why Mike Martin? Two words: snap explosion.
Martin was a bit higher rated—consensus four star outside the top 100, IIRC—and an ever-growing slab of pulsating muscle from day one. Hurst isn't going to be quite as ripped, but he is a kid who can get off the ball in a flash, bury himself in the chest of the opponent, and then rip through the dude before he knows what's going on.
Guru Reliability: Low. Significant disparity, Massachusetts is virtually ignored, apparently did not hit a single camp, though he did show for the Semper Fi game and impress.
Variance: Moderate. Another guy with the opposite of character issues. Coming from seriously weak high school competition, which makes for hilarious highlight reels but also uncertainty.
Ceiling: High-minus. Love, love his quickness and he has adequate size. Probably not a guy with first round upside, though.
General Excitement Level: High. I know, I know, I'm just a bubbly 14-year-old girl about this recruiting class, but what can I say? Hurst is a guy who has bloodlines, can make a reasonable case he was overlooked because of his state, stature and camp avoidance, and blew up at an All Star game that caused everyone who paid attention to shoot him up in the rankings. And if you're asking me the #1 thing I want to hear about a DT "explosive first step" is it.
Projection: Ondre Pipkins had better get on his horse because Willie Henry and Hurst are coming for him.
Hurst should be a redshirt lock with a solid three-deep in front of him. In year two the three guys mentioned will have a battle royale for the starting spot Quinton Washington vacates, with the runner-up also getting a significant amount of playing time. Pipkins is still the favorite, but I would not rule out Hurst becoming a productive backup as quickly as next year. Failing that he should emerge into a rotation nose tackle as a redshirt junior, if he is not the starter.
Hurst also has the potential to compete at three-tech with his explosion, and if things are going well at nose I expect he will be moved there and be a heavy rotation feature, whether that's behind or in front of Chris Wormley. He should be getting significant snaps by year three, if not earlier.
When you hear about that first step "get-off"...man, that's *exactly* what you're looking for in a 3-tech in a 4-3 under. It's a desirable trait in a NT as well (given the requisite size), but it screams PLAYMAKER at 3-tech.
I remember that article and it was sad. I'm glad he was able to grow up to be, by all accounts, a stand up young man, and that there were good role models in his life besides his father. He'll have plenty of great role models and father figures at Michigan.
He is so quick for such a large body. He almost seems nimble when he makes his long TD run. In the Senior season hightlights, 1:10 mark, he lines up in what I believe is an H back and just drive blocks the defender to the next county. I think he'll be a surprise from this class.
“I didn’t have any quarterbacks show up,’’ said Stevenson, who is entering his 20th year as Xaverian’s coach. “He played quarterback for me. Four touchdown passes against BC High. He had a pick at safety. He was playing cornerback trying to cover guys man to man.
I'm no expert, but looking at the Semper Fi highlights, and taking into account that he was not feeling well, it looks like he needs a bit of work on finishing tackles. He occasionally got buried by linemen as well, but that may be more a matter of his being sick. With that said, I'm very excited about him. Given the Heineger Certainty Principal, and a redshirt to add some bulk and work on technique, I think he's going to be uncontrollable for any mortal OL in a few years.
To me he looked like a guy who was just not in very good shape, whether it was strictly sickness or the fact that it was not football season. Football typically ends at the end of October/beginning of November, and he very well could have been a little bit out of shape by the beginning of January when the Semper Fi game was played.
Not sure how he was rated coming out of high school in Florida but Hurst reminds me of Atkins. They are built very similarly and have the same strengths. If Hurst can come even close to what Geno did in college I'll be happy. If he can approach NFL Geno we will have something very special.