Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Gamecocks Tight End Hayden Hurst has decided not to return to the University of South Carolina next season. Hurst announced on Twitter that he plans to enter the NFL draft after the Outback Bowl.

Hurst tweeted an image with a statement on it that read in part, "This was one of the hardest choices I have ever had to make because of how special South Carolina is to me. This university has completely changed my life and leaving next month will be extremely hard, but I am on to pursuing my next dream and representing Gamecock Nation wherever I end up."

Hurst leads all conference tight ends with 41 catches for 518 yards this season. He has two touchdown catches to go with one touchdown rushing. Earlier this week, he was named First Team All-SEC by the league coaches - quite an accomplishment for the former professional baseball player who originally came to USC as a walk-on. Now he is leaving as the program's career leader among tight ends with a total of 97 catches for 1,240 yards.