|Maurice Hurst, Jr.|
Weight: 277 lbs.
High school: Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt freshman
Jersey number: #73
Last year: I ranked Hurst #82 and said he would redshirt. He redshirted.
Putting Hurst at #41 is perhaps the gutsiest ranking of the whole countdown, since he's jumping up 41 spots from last year and has yet to play a down of college football. I often choose not to believe the practice hype, but Hurst has been earning some buzz since last season when coaches and players were talking about his quickness off the ball. He also played some running back in high school, and I think his burst offers something that other nose tackles (Ondre Pipkins, Bryan Mone, Ryan Glasgow, Brady Pallante) lack, perhaps with the exception of Willie Henry. I bumped Hurst up the list a little bit because of the uncertainty surrounding Pipkins, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Regardless, I like a nose tackle who can penetrate and cause some havoc, and I also think Hurst could play some 3-tech tackle. His listed weight (277 lbs.) might be a drawback if accurate, but he looked bigger than that in the spring. I look for Hurst to start to make a name for himself and perhaps work his way into the lineup on passing downs, where his lack of bulk won't be as much of a hindrance and his quickness can force quarterbacks out of their comfort zone.
Prediction: Backup nose tackle