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New Blue, Maurice Hurst

MA DT Maurice Hurst Jr, listed as 6'2, 300ish, verbally committed to Michigan during his campus visit on Saturday, a day after visiting East Lansing. Hurst is a bit of a new-comer on Michigan's radar, as he was only offered on May 15th, but like fellow '13 commit Mike McCray, he didn't require long to decide that Michigan was the school for him. He becomes the 19th commit in the class, and the 2nd defensive lineman, joining OH DE Taco Charlton.

Hurst's school, Xaverian Brothers, is not a high profile school, although they have sent a few kids to D1 schools like Boston College and Duke over the years. Hurst was also not a kid who got his name out through camping, which the recruiting services love. As a result, he flew under the radar a bit, until his recruitment started to pick up steam in the weeks following National Signing Day. He added early offers from Boston College, Purdue, and UConn, and blew up from there. He would end up with offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, UNC, UVA, and Missouri, among others. In any case, the Michigan offer would come on May 15th, and it's fairly amazing how quickly things moved. Within a day he had already been in contact with Michigan commits like Shane Morris, and scheduled a visit to Ann Arbor. In fact, he as much as admitted his plan to commit, to Tremendous. For those who care, this is another kid who picked Michigan over an offer from Ohio State, the 9th to do so in this class. Buckeyes will have a hard time playing this off as a kid without a 'commitable offer'. From an April 27th interview on 11Warriors.

Yeah, they said they are still looking to add one more tackle. I know they have Joey Bosa now for strong side end and two players who could play inside [Tracy Sprinkle and Billy Price], but they should be taking three players that can be tackles.

Ohio State has not added any defensive tackles (or anyone, for that matter), since the date of that interview. For what it's worth, 5 of Ohio State's commits had Michigan offers at some point or another.

I think the variance in Hurst's rating among the different sites (4* to Scout and 247, 3* to Rivals and ESPN) is understandable. If he put it all together, he may warrant high 4* type praise, but at this point, he's pretty inconsistent. Some plays he gets off the ball low, initiates and dominates contact with the offensive lineman, and drives the opponent back. Some plays he doesn't. He also flashes the ability to use his hands well, and manipulate the offensive lineman that way, such as this play against ND Commit John Montelus (plays against Montelus and his team are scattered throughout Hurst's highlight video). Unfortunately, a lot of this is almost completely sporadic. Sometimes he stands straight up at the snap of the ball, and lets himself get driven off the ball, although he's still occasionally able to use his athleticism to make a play against high schoolers, anyway. Two things that aren't inconsistent, though, are his hustle and passion. It's easy to see why Mattison wanted to add him to the class.

I'm also a fan of the versatility that Hurst offers. If he's listed at the 300 pounds that scout has him (probably a little bit under), then I could see him playing the 3 or 1-technique. He could back up Pipkins (or challenge him for the spot), or offer depth at the 3-technique. Hurst is a lot like many of the defensive linemen that Michigan has added in the past two years; raw, but highly athletic. It seems unlikely that all these kids will pan out, but the more you add, the more likely it is that you will be able to establish an elite 2-deep.

Regardless of which of those positions he ends up playing, I think he'll probably redshirt. During his freshman year on campus, there will be a slew of young bodies (Wormley?, Godin, Henry) competing with Senior Jibreel Black and RS Junior Kenny Wilkins for playing time at the 3-technique. Depth at the nose will be a bit thinner, but I believe that Pipkins and Ash should prove difficult to displace in the 2-deep. From then on, it'll be a matter of how well Hurst takes to coaching, but he should have ample opportunity to break into the lineup as an upperclassman.

So there you have it, folks. Hurst is the next in line of super-athletic defensive lineman that Hoke, Mattison, and Montgomery will all be challenged to mold into something great. If he can get over his bouts with inconsistency, Hurst has the potential to be an explosive 3 or 1-technique during his time at Michigan.