Scouting Report: Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina

By Kelby Goodman

Number: #81 | Hometown: Jacksonville, FL | HT: 6040 | WT: 250 | HAND: 0934 | ARM: 3218 | 40-YD: 4.67 | VJ: 31.5” | BJ: 10’ | L-DRILL: 7.19 | SS: 4.37 | SIXTY: 12.15


The former MLB draftee turned South Carolina walk-on broke onto the scene in 2016 and followed up with a very similar year in 2017. He possesses an excellent size/speed combo and utilizes both traits extremely well on the field. He is able to get behind any non-elite speed backers on seam routes and will lower his shoulder through defensive backs trying to take him down. He possesses a knack for finding the soft spot in zone coverages, along with the speed to tack on yards after the catch in those instances. Even with his large frame, he does a good job of dropping his hips to run precise routes. He has demonstrated very strong hands and shows the ability to make catches in traffic, including ones away from his body. Only nabbed three career collegiate touchdown receptions but that is more of an issue with quarterback Jake Bentley’s overthrows, as he was able to get open in the red zone. Despite his size, he isn’t physical enough and can get knocked off his route. In addition, you would like to see him generate more of a push behind his blocks. He shows a tendency to stop his feet on first impact when run blocking and is reliant upon on his arms to sustain blocks. After giving baseball an attempt, he is set to be a 25 year-old rookie and teams will have to wonder if he has reached his ceiling. When most of his tight end cohorts in the 2018 draft are three-four years younger, it may be a determining factor where he ultimately winds up. He should be off the board somewhere in the top 75 picks.


  • 2017 Team Captain
  • 2017 First-Team All-SEC (AP and Coaches)
  • 2017 Mackey Award Semifinalist
  • 2017 Burlsworth Trophy Semifinalist
  • 2017 Strength & Conditioning Award
  • 2017 Unselfish Teammate Award
  • 2017 Tenacity Award
  • 2017 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
  • 2017 Outstanding Student-Athlete Representative
  • 2016 Team Captain
  • 2016 Co-Strength & Conditioning Award
  • 2016 Co-Tenacity Award – Offense
  • 2016 SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll
  • 15-16 First Year SEC Honor Roll


2017: Junior who was one of the nation’s top tight ends… named first team All-SEC by both the Associated Press and by the league’s 14 coaches… was a semifinalist for both the Mackey Award, which recognizes the nation’s best tight end, and the Burlsworth Trophy, which recognizes the nation’s top walk-on… named 2017 preseason first-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches and Athlon, and was a second-team selection by the media… named a midseason first-team All-SEC pick by The Athletic… was the team’s second-leading receiver with 44 catches for 559 yards… ranked seventh nationally among tight ends in receiving yards and tied for 10th in receptions… also rushed nine times for 30 yards… had two receiving touchdowns and one rushing TD… caught three passes for a team-high 69 yards and a score and also had a rushing TD at Missouri… logged six receptions for 76 yards at Texas A&M… went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark against Arkansas when he caught two passes for 76 yards, including a career-long 62-yard reception… broke the school record for receptions by a tight end in the Vanderbilt win, surpassing Danny Smith’s 78 catches from 1984-87… set a career-high with 93 receiving yards on seven catches at Georgia, earning John Mackey National Tight End of the Week accolades… caught five passes for 59 yards against Florida, and also forced a fumble, keeping the Gators from a score… owns the school record for a tight end and ranks 17th overall with 100 catches… ranks second among tight ends for career receiving yards with 1,281, behind only Danny Smith’s mark of 1,336… named a permanent team captain for the second-straight season… given the Strength & Conditioning Award, the Unselfish Teammate Aard for the offense, and the Tenacity Award for the offense… named the Dr. Harris Pastides Outstanding Student-Athlete Representative at the 2017 Garnet & Black spring game… a former professional baseball player who came to South Carolina as a walk-on… named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll… invited to the NFL Combine.

2016: Sophomore tight end… named one of four permanent team captains… set Carolina’s single-season record for catches by a tight end with 48… the previous mark was 38, set by Doug Hamrick in 1970… was the first Carolina tight end to catch 30 passes since Weslye Saunders in 2009… also broke Danny Smith’s school record for receiving yards by a tight end (576 in 1987) with 616… ranked among the nation’s top dozen tight ends in both receptions and yards receiving… had at least five receptions in five games and at least 80 receiving yards in four contests… logged a career-best eight catches for 68 yards against Mississippi State… caught two passes for 43 yards in the East Carolina win… came up with a season-high 36-yard reception to set up South Carolina’s crucial field goal in the fourth quarter against the Pirates… led all players with seven catches for 84 yards at Kentucky, including a 30-yard reception to set up Carolina’s touchdown… caught five passes for a career-high 90 yards against Texas A&M… also threw one pass on a trick play against the Aggies, finding A.J. Turner for a nine-yard reception… led all players with six catches for 86 yards in the Georgia game… also served as the Gamecocks’ punt returner against Georgia, becoming the biggest punt returner in Division I football in recent memory… caught three passes for a team-high 63 yards at Florida, including a career-long 47-yarder, when he matched a Carolina single-season record for tight ends… caught one pass for 15 yards and completed one pass on a trick play, which went for 12 yards, in the Western Carolina victory… caught three passes for 26 yards and carried the ball twice for nine yards at Clemson… hauled in six passes for 86 yards in the Birmingham Bowl against USF, including his first career points… hauled in a 25-yard touchdown reception for Carolina’s first score of the contest and tallied a two-point conversion to tie the game late in regulation… shared the Strength & Conditioning Award with Cory Helms as selected by the coaches… shared the Tenacity Award for the offense with Zack Bailey as selected by the players… nominated for the Burlsworth Trophy… named to the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll… placed on scholarship in the spring.

2015: Former professional baseball player who played in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization before walking on to the Carolina football team in the summer of 2015… played in all 12 games, making one start… caught eight passes for 106 yards… played at tight end and on special teams early in the season… moved to wide receiver after the UCF game… caught his first pass, a nine-yard reception, at LSU… hauled in a career-long 47-yard reception at Texas A&M… made his first career start and responded with a pair of catches for 12 yards against Florida… had two catches versus The Citadel… named to the 2015-16 First-Year SEC Honor Roll.

High School: Graduated from The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2012… played football but was also a standout on the baseball diamond… selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 baseball draft… helped the Bulldogs to a pair of state baseball titles… was a Florida All-Region first-team selection and a 2012 Rawlings second-team All-American as a righthanded pitcher with a fastball in the low 90s… pitched in the 2011 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game… turned down a baseball scholarship to attend Florida State to sign with the Pirates.

Personal: Hayden Randle Hurst was born August 24, 1993… is a sport and entertainment management major… played two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in the rookie Gulf Coast League, as a pitcher in 2013 and as a first baseman in 2014… underwent Tommy John surgery as an eighth grader.