At 24 years previous, tight finish Hayden Hurst was the oldest participant chosen in the first spherical of the 2018 NFL Draft. There’s a superb motive for that — he spent a 12 months flaming out of baseball’s minor leagues before discovering his area of interest in the SEC.
Hurst signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates instantly out of highschool as a 17th spherical choose in 2014, eschewing school behind a low-90s fastball and a wealth of potential. He spent one season in the franchise’s farm league, showing in 15 video games in 2014 for the Gulf Coast League Pirates. It went…poorly.
Hurst had management points rivaled solely by a Penal League Ricky Vaughn, resulting in a lone distastrous efficiency as a professional; six batters confronted, 5 walks, and one out. Here’s what that type of wildness regarded like:
This is what the yips regarded like for former MLB prospect Hayden Hurst, now projected by many to be the first tight finish taken in the NFL draft. pic.twitter.com/eP7owr3z7P
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) April 4, 2018
Juuuuuust a bit inside.
Things have been higher at the plate after he was transformed to first base, however nonetheless not nice. Hurst batted .245 in 53 at-bats in low-A ball, but additionally struck out a powerful 26 instances. It was clear baseball wasn’t going to be a profession choice primarily based on his lone 12 months in the minors — however pitching coach Scott Elarton had an concept: football.
Hurst hadn’t performed on the gridiron in years, however his four.5-second 40 pace and 6’6 body made him an intriguing addition as a walk-on for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He had solely eight catches as a 21-year-old freshman, however exploded in his sophomore and junior seasons to change into an All-SEC choice. After three years of faculty play, he landed with the receiver-needy Ravens in the first spherical of the draft.
It was an extended and damaged path, however Hurst rebounded from considered one of the lowest lows minor league baseball might have dreamed as much as change into considered one of the most sought-after prospects in the NFL. Now he simply has to fend off the yips that tormented him on the mound to proceed his meteoric rise on the football area.