2016 Season Countdown: #24 Maurice Hurst, Jr.

2016 Season Countdown: #24 Maurice Hurst, Jr.


August 18, 2016

Maurice Hurst, Jr.

Name: Maurice Hurst, Jr.
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 282 lbs.
High school: Westwood (MA) Xaverian Brothers
Position: Defensive tackle
Class: Redshirt junior
Jersey number: #73
Last year: I ranked Hurst #39 and said he would be a backup nose tackle (LINK). He made four starts, 35 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks.

Hurst was maybe a bit of a pleasant surprise in 2015. He made just 3 tackles and 1 tackle for loss in 2014, and while he got some practice hype, he hadn’t shown a ton on the field. He also seemed to be pretty undersized for a nose tackle at a shade over 280 lbs. After Bryan Mone broke his leg in the pre-season and Ryan Glasgow tore his pec in the middle of the season, Hurst became The Man at nose tackle. He responded by making 35 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Those numbers are comparable or favorable with the senior seasons of Terrance Taylor (35 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1.5 sacks), Alan Branch (25 tackles, 6 TFLs, and 2 sacks) and Gabe Watson (40 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, 2 sacks). It should be noted that he achieved those numbers while starting only four games and beginning the season at #3 on the depth chart.

Pro Football Focus ranks Hurst as the #27 overall player in the country for 2016 (LINK), but I don’t quite buy that hype, and I also think Michigan has the horses to cover up for his absence if necessary. It’s unclear exactly how the rotation will go down, but Michigan can play Hurst, Matt Godin, and Chris Wormley at 3-tech defensive tackle this year. Hurst may be a backup nose tackle in some packages or if Michigan suffers injuries there again this year, but otherwise, I think Michigan could probably stand to lose one defensive tackle (Hurst or someone else) without suffering too much. Hurst will play plenty, he will be productive, and I think his quickness will give offensive guards some problems. However, Michigan is pretty deep on the defensive line, lessening the importance of any one guy.

Prediction: Part-time starting defensive tackle





2 comments

  1. Lanknows
    Comments: 6285
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Aug 18, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Michigan is extremely deep on the DL. They have 9 guys they want to rotate for 4 positions. An injury at some point will probably solve the logjam for them but for now we are talking about having proven starters who are 3rd string and out of the rotation in a competitive situations. Any other team in the Big 10 would kill to have Hurst — and ours hardly needs him. The situation is just a surplus of talent.

    While Hurst is a play-maker, and makes a difference in pass-rushing situations, losing him would just mean more snaps for guys like Mone, Wormley, Gary, Godin, and Charlton. Not such a bad thing. I do think he has extra value because he can play either DT or NT (and I suspect he would even be OK as a SDE/Anchor if needed.) but so do others.

    I would contrast that situation to what it would mean if we lost Stribling or Clark. Losing them would mean more snaps for an unproven backup like Watson, Kinnell, or a freshman, and likely in high leverage situations (where there tend to be multiple DBs late in games). To me that’s a significantly bigger drop-off.*

    So yeah, Hurst is probably a better player than a lot of people listed above him – for all I know he may be the 3rd or 4th highest drafted player on the roster. But that’s not what this countdown is all about. As good of a player as he looks like he’ll become, I don’t think he deserves being ranked in the top 25. Next year (Wormley, Glasgow, Godin, Charlton all gone) – Hurst will probably be in the top 10. This year he’s not close.

    *I do get that it depends on how good you think Clark/Stribling are, to me the case that they are anything below above-average big ten starter is a difficult one to make.

    • Painter Smurf
      Comments: 263
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      Painter Smurf
      Aug 19, 2016 at 6:32 AM

      Kid is a proven difference maker and is probably looking at 35 or 40 snaps per game as one of the top 5 or 6 DL. He will be pretty darn valuable this year at one of the most important positions on the team. Losing DT depth last year almost completely accounted for the late season defensive collapses. He is a natural 3 tech, which many of the guys you mention above are not. Long story short, his recognition as an important cog on this countdown is legit.

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