“It just seemed to be a really good fit for me,” said Hurst. “I had big expectations when I went on my trip and they fulfilled all those expectations. When I went to the academic support staff, I liked that a lot, too. They were really great and seemed to know what they were talking about as far as making sure you’re not just academically eligible but performing your best in the classroom. That was big for me.
‘‘I wasn’t really too interested in going to mainly a football school. They’re great for people who just want to go into the NFL but I wanted a mix of both. That’s why it came down to Michigan and Virginia.’’
When Hurst was a freshman, the first thing Stevenson noticed wasn’t his size, his competitiveness, or his skills. It was his first step.
“I think probably the first indication to me was my defensive coordinator Al Fornaro said, ‘You’ve got to see this guy come off the ball.’ I looked and went yay. My description of him to college coaches who have recruited at our school for a lot of years and know some of our past players, I would compare his first step to a kid who played for us the late ’90s, Scott Bradley. Scott had a tremendous first step and that was the thing that sold all the coaches on Scotty, that first step. The difference between the two is that Scotty was 215 pounds, Mo is 295 pounds. If you’re 295 and can do what a 215-pounder does, you’re a good football player.’’
Hurst isn’t the first good football player in Westwood with a former Patriot as his father. Over the years the names Hasselbeck, Grogan, Cappadona, St. Jean, Lenkaitis, and Fox have appeared on Xaverian rosters, and this fall Wilfork, Andruzzi, and Tippett will be added. But unlike the other famous fathers, Stevenson has never seen or spoken to Hurst Sr.
A mother’s support
Nicole Page met Maurice Hurst in 1989 after he was drafted by the Patriots in the fourth round out of Southern University. She was a Patriots cheerleader for three years after graduating from Stoughton High and spending time at Salem State studying criminal justice. They were never married but had a child, Maurice Jr., in 1995, during the last of Maurice Sr.’s seven-year career with New England that was good enough to earn him a spot on the Patriots’ All-Decade team.
If there’s one thing Hurst Jr. can count on, it’s his mom, who has never missed one of his games, or as she said, “No, never, ever, never, never ever. College may be the first time I’ll ever miss a game and I don’t know how I’ll be.”
Hurst’s decision to stay out of his son’s life confuses Page, who declined to provide Hurst’s telephone number.
“For me, it’s frustrating. Not on my end, but more on Maurice’s end because he’s such a great kid and everyone loves him. I just don’t understand why somebody wouldn’t want to be in more of a role in his life. So it’s a little frustrating, especially where little Mo loves football. He eats it, sleeps it and just absolutely loves it, and would love to follow in his father’s footsteps. I would think most people would love that. But he just . . . minimum contact.
“He has reached out to him a little bit. But now it’s to the point where Maurice is 17, and I don’t want to say it’s too late, but Maurice has other people to mentor him. Brent [Williams] has been incredible, his wife and whole family. My siblings have been very supportive. My father has been very supportive to Maurice. I have so many people and family and friends here, including the Xaverian Brothers family. We’ve had so much support, that little Maurice understands where the support has come from.”
One effort by Hurst Sr. to get involved backfired earlier this year.
The last time Maurice saw his father was freshman year, when he and his mother traveled to New Orleans, Hurst Sr.’s hometown. Since then there has been no contact, until they spoke just prior to Maurice’s commitment to Michigan in June.
“My mom told me to give him a call to talk about schools. It was kind of uncomfortable because he kind of wanted me to go to LSU or Alabama. He didn’t really think Michigan was an ideal school so it kind of frustrated me a little bit.’’
Maurice never told his father he was going to Michigan.
“My mom may have, I’m not really sure.’’
It’s been five or six years — Hurst isn’t sure exactly — since he saw Xaverian play Brockton, after which he was sold, returning home and telling his mom he wanted to be a Hawk.
Now he’s a senior.
Xaverian opens the season Saturday against Malden Catholic. After a 6-5 record last fall that landed the Hawks in third place in the Catholic Conference, Hurst has high hopes for his final season. The B student — “I think I could be an A student but I seem to be pretty busy most of the time’’ — wants to play for a Division 1 title in December.Continued...