Growing up in a Hollywood family, Hurst made a very early start in show business, with a recurring role in the NBC teen situation comedy series Saved by the Bell: The New Class. In the 1998 epic war drama film Saving Private Ryan, Hurst portrayed Mandelsohn, a paratrooper who, because of temporary hearing loss, cannot understand Captain Miller's (Tom Hanks) questions about sighting Private Ryan, which forces Miller to ask the questions in writing. Additionally, he appeared in the 2002 war film We Were Soldiers as Sgt. Ernie Savage, played the football player Lump Hudson in the black comedy thriller film The Ladykillers (2004), and starred in the TNT police drama series Wanted (2005). From 2005 to 2007, Hurst gained recognition for portraying the recurring role of Allison DuBois' half-brother, Michael Benoit, in NBC's supernatural procedural drama series Medium.