Hayden Hurst has a new favorite Baltimore Ravens player, and he just happens to have the same name as the rising third-grader at Meadowvale Elementary School in Havre de Grace.
“Awesome,” Hayden, 8, said Friday evening about her experience meeting Ravens rookie tight end Hayden Hurst earlier in the day during a tour of the Ravens’ training facility in Owings Mills for season ticket holders. Training for the 2018 season began Thursday.
“[We] talked about our names, our hair,” she said.
Both have long hair, and in a video of their encounter are shown flipping their hair back, an homage to one of player Hurst’s signature moves.
The video had been posted on the Ravens’ website and the team’s Facebook page by Friday evening — Hayden Hurst, the Raven, also posted a link on his Twitter feed.
“Great name, great hair annnd she’s got the hair flip down,” Hurst the player tweeted. “She’s going places.”
Hayden said her favorite Raven had been kicker Justin Tucker, whom she also met and got an autograph from Friday, but Hurst is now her favorite. Tucker is in a close second place, her father, Scott Hurst, joked.
Hayden Hurst, who played football for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, was selected by the Ravens during the first round of the NFL draft in April. He was the Ravens’ first pick — and 25th overall — ahead of quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, of the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Jackson was selected 32nd in the first round of the draft.
Hayden visited the training facility Friday with her parents, Amy and Scott Hurst, who have been season ticket holders for 17 years. Scott Hurst is chief of the Susquehanna Hose Company, the volunteer fire company for the City of Havre de Grace and surrounding areas.
Hayden has a younger brother, Hunter, 2, and all four members of the family have their own seats at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Scott Hurst said.
“He’s a very humble, nice guy,” Scott Hurst said of Hayden Hurst. “He was really down to earth and really, really a nice person, and I’m really happy [Hayden] got to meet him.”
The Hursts learned about a pro football prospect with the same name as their daughter around Christmas last year and began following him in the news. Scott Hurst does not believe they are related, he said.
Amy Hurst says on the video the family thought Hayden Hurst would be an “awesome addition” to the team.
“It would just be great having a Hayden Hurst and a Hayden Hurst,” she says.
Hayden had been trying to stay up the night of the draft to see if the Ravens would select him, but she ended up falling asleep, Scott Hurst said.
“We woke Hayden up and told her that Hayden Hurst was a Baltimore Raven, and she was ecstatic about it,” he said.
The video shows Hayden Hurst signing a football for Hayden and joking about how it feels like he is signing for himself.
“I’ve met a few Haydens,” he says on the video. “I’ve never met a Hayden Hurst.”
Scott Hurst contacted Ravens public relations staff about having his daughter meet the tight end during the tour Friday.
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“It was really, really a fantastic time,” he said. “They really went out of their way to accommodate us today.”