ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When Maurice Hurst found out he couldn’t participate in part of the NFL combine over health concerns, the Michigan defensive tackle didn’t wallow. He became proactive.
Hurst needed to make the most of the biggest job interview of his life.
Hurst sat out of all physical activities at the combine earlier this month in Indianapolis. Testing at the event revealed he had a heart condition. However, Hurst received medical clearance and participated in Michigan’s pro day Friday in Ann Arbor.
“I was a little bit upset at first, but I was happy just to be able to meet with teams and get to talk to a lot of coaches and get to talk ball, which was why I was there,” said Hurst, a 6-foot-2, 282-pound defensive tackle. “I knew about [the heart condition] here and I was a little surprised they held me out. But I was excited I was able to do everything here at pro day.”
One diagnosis doesn’t deter Hurst. He remains confident that he will be a high draft pick in the NFL draft in April.
“Hopefully, the first round,” Hurst said. “So, we’ll see.”
Hurst declined to disclose the specific nature of the heart condition that kept him out of the combine earlier this month. He said he was diagnosed with the same condition during his freshman year, following an EKG test.
“I think they were taking precautionary measures,” Michigan fullback Henry Poggi said. “The University of Michigan wasn’t going allow him to play if it a serious injury, or anything serious with it.
“He went through everything [pro day] here. But it just kind of stung, for him, because I know he would have gone to the combine, and he would have done really, well, and the media would have blown it up. Pro day’s not as big of a stage as the combine, but hopefully, he’ll still get his national recognition.”
The diagnosis hasn’t deterred the pundits from projecting Hurst’s draft stock, either.
CBSSports.com analysts Will Brinson, Chris Trapasso and Ryan Wilson also project Hurst as a first-round pick. DraftScout.com projects Hurst as a first-round selection and as the No. 3 defensive tackle in the 2018 class.
Hurst said he found out within the last two weeks that he had clearance to participate in Michigan’s pro day. But between the announcement March 3 and his date of clearance, Hurst underwent a battery of medical tests after the combine, first at Michigan and then at Harvard. That including rechecking EKGs, stress tests and an MRI. He said he has no more medical testing planned before the NFL draft, which begins April 26.
“I had not had any testing done recently,” Hurst said. “A lot of times the combine will play it safe. That’s what they did.”
The announcement initially gave one of his teammates some pause.
“For me, it would have been different, because I didn’t have any preexisting conditions,” said offensive lineman Mason Cole, who participated in the NFL combine. “But it would have been a little scary in a stressful time like that, at the combine, if you were told you can’t perform. But he handled it fine.
“He knew he’d be fine. He knew he had pro day.”
Hurst took advantage of that chance. He participated in every pro day drill Friday, without any restrictions.
“It was good,” Hurst said. “I think NFL teams will view me exactly the same as before. If you’re cleared, you’re cleared. It’s not anything to look back on.”
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 23, 2018