FAIRFIELD — Billy Hurst has a dream, and this week he’s taking the first steps toward making it a reality.
A junior running back/free safety at Vanden High, Hurst is in San Antonio for the U.S. Army Combine, which features 500 of the nation’s top student-athletes – all juniors – in an NFL-style tryout to showcase their skills for college and beyond.
The combine is part of the week’s events surrounding the Army All-American Bowl.
“It feels good, feels like a good accomplishment,” said a weary Hurst after the 28-hour drive south on Interstate 5 and east on Interstate 10. “It’s a way to get started for me, a good starting point.”
Hurst said the drive was exhausting, but events don’t start until Friday.
“It was a long trip. We drove down here,” he said. “It was 28 hours through snow and blizzards.”
Still, the trip will be worth it as the combine should give Hurst the exposure he needs to move on to the next level – something very important to him and his family.
“I’m pretty sure this will be good exposure,” Hurst said. “I’m not sure how it’s really run yet. We’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Hurst said he’s focused on his path as a tribute to older brother Angelo, a former Vanden standout and Solano Community College linebacker who was gunned down in a 2007 drive-by shooting in Vacaville.
“It kind of is unfinished business for me. I want to make it for him and for my family,” Hurst said. “I do it for my brother every day. It’s my dream. Me and him share a common dream and I get to fulfill it, hopefully.”
So far that goal seems attainable.
Hurst maintains a grade-point average above 3.0 and he was among the Vikings’ leaders (sixth) with 48 tackles and an interception last fall.
The combine activities begin Friday and run through Saturday at the Alamodome.
Participants will run through a series of drills modeled after the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Events include the 40-yard dash, short shuttle and vertical jump.
The juniors invited to the combine will also attend the Army All-American Bowl, an all-star game featuring some of the nation’s top seniors.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.