Maurice Hurst will be relied upon this season to be a leader on the defensive line. Having to replace four players is no easy task, but having players like Hurst and Rashan Gary to fill the gaps is a good start for a succession plan.
Michigan held its Pro Day on Friday, which saw all of U-M's draft-eligible defensive lineman partake in the process. While Hurst could've been out there himself, he announced that he would return for his final season in Ann Arbor. Hurst was a major talking point for the combine participants, and many expect him to take the next step along with Gary.
Hurst, however, isn't focused on the hype or hyperbole. He's only focused on one thing: Getting better.
"I think we're just excited to get to work and be the best players that we can be," Hurst said. "Not really focused on the outside stuff, it was nice to have all the NFL guys out there and meet some of them."
Whether Hurst has any regret about returning to school for one more year can be thrown out the window immediately. He squashed those feelings when asked and said that he is looking forward to the season ahead.
"It was kind of tough watching the guys work out without being out there," Hurst said. "Just from all the stuff we've been through for the past four years, I wish I could've been out there working. I was really excited to watch them and watch them do well and excel. To see all of the good things the coaches had to say about them. I'm still happy about my decision and I'm looking forward to the season."
For now, Hurst is now placed squarely as a leader on the defensive line as he will be the oldest starter. There is no longer any room for error this season, Hurst realizes that. As a leader, he is now in charge in making sure the younger players are developing at the right pace.
That pace might be faster than most are used to.
"Just consistency and production is mainly the two things that were sort of brought up," Hurst said. "Definitely have a big year ahead of me and I'm just trying to make the most of it... It's a little different [being the older player on the team,] just a little bit more of a leadership role and helping some of the young guys. A lot of people have to step up this year, their development