South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst didn’t ask his coaches to let him sling the ball around. He didn’t wander over to special teams coach Coleman Hutzler and plead his case.
The USC football team was at its own 40 facing fourth down, and he got his chance with a fake punt. The choice from the staff, probably Will Muschamp and Hutzler chief among them came with USC needing a spark, not at the behest of a future NFL draft pick.
“I didn’t say anything to him,” Hurst said. “It’s something we kind of had planned throughout the week. We kind of had the look that we wanted.”
It worked out.
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As a shield on the punt team, he caught the ball and starting rolling right, then flicked it back to the left. It was out of the reach of Skai Moore, but that was because he’d been held up.
A flag came out and the drive continued, and Hurst threw a pass again on the next play, one that went too far.
A tight end throwing to a linebacker isn’t the most natural thing, so why did Muschamp trust the elder statesman on his squad to sling it?
“He’s got that baseball arm,” Muschamp said.
Hurst played several years of minor league baseball before joining USC’s roster at age 23 as a walk-on. Moore admitted that he hadn’t gone out for a pass route since his freshman season of high school.