If Nic Scourton had shown up to Kyle Field in sweatpants and a windbreaker to protect himself from the wet conditions surrounding Texas A&M’s spring game on Saturday, I still would’ve banged the drum for him being a force in his new digs.

Unfortunately for the A&M offense, that’s not what the Bryan (Tex.) native/Purdue transfer/game-wrecking defensive end did in his return to the Lone Star State.

No. 11 was a menace on Saturday. He had 7 tackles, 3.5 sacks and he unofficially had 2.5 sacks, but it felt like more. That didn’t include the times he appeared to have a clear path to Conner Weigman but he threw his hands up, nor did those stats include him beating Weigman to the edge and forcing him to bury a throw into the dirt.

By day’s end, it was clear that Mike Elko’s best player on the field was the all-important Scourton, who could soon have Saturdays like that against SEC offenses.

Yeah, it was a spring game. Sure. Anybody can have a big day and then fade into oblivion when the games actually count.

That’s what someone would say if they hadn’t followed Scourton’s career. This isn’t someone who is trying to break out with a new opportunity. This is someone who led the Big Ten in sacks and served as a team captain as a 19-year-old sophomore at Purdue. In 2023, Scourton was a second-team All-Big Ten selection who earned the second-highest PFF pass-rush grade among Power 5 returners.

Did A&M tamper with him to get him to come back to his home state? Even if they did, who cares? Scourton is the type of guy that every team should tamper for. He’s 280 pounds, he lines up off the edge, he harasses quarterbacks AND he’s excellent against the run.

Scourton is going to be a problem. Period. A&M center Mark Nabou called him a “troublemaker,” but in a good way. Well, good for A&M, that is.

The fact that he’s lining up opposite from the returning Shemar Stewart will be a monumental advantage for A&M.

That’s saying a lot. Maybe Scourton will deliver the best season from an A&M defensive lineman since a certain Myles Garrett. It’s not out of the realm of possibility in Mike Elko’s defense, which produced NFL defensive linemen like Justin Madubuike, Kingsley Keke, Daylon Mack, Michael Clemons, Bobby Brown III and DeMarvin Leal back when he was A&M’s defensive coordinator.

Scourton will be next up in that group of A&M’s NFL defensive linemen. That’s not really in question. The better question might be if he can become the first A&M defensive player to go in the first round since the aforementioned Garrett back in 2017. Time will tell.

Whether he eventually does that or not, it’s already evident that his presence is going to be a major plus for 2024. It’s telling that the former Purdue captain was the first pick in the spring game draft, as well as the fact that he was 1 of 2 A&M players to address the media afterward.

Scourton shared how crazy it was to have his family and friends in the stands. Even just being in Kyle Field was relatively new to him, despite him being a local (he grew up more of a Baylor fan and admitted “maybe I’m just a hater”). Elko told him that they missed out on him in high school when he was the DC — Scourton speculated that the A&M side was hesitant because they didn’t know he’d become a 280-pound edge guy — but that they didn’t want that to happen again when Scourton had options in the portal.

Yep. No doubt about that.

Elko might have the benefit of the SEC’s most experienced team in terms of percentage of returning production, but what he lacks are answers to a lot of key questions. How will Collin Klein’s Year 1 offense gel with Conner Weigman? Can A&M’s offensive line bounce back after a wildly disappointing year? How will A&M handle a schedule that’s loaded with home headliners? Those could all define how this Year 1 plays out.

But with Scourton, it feels pretty simple. He’s going to have an advantage against virtually every offensive lineman who stands in his way. Maybe that spin move will bring on double teams and free up other guys, or maybe he’ll plow right through multiple guys en route to the quarterback. All feels possible with Scourton.

Well, he does have a couple of adjustments to make. One is that he’s getting used to lining up in a 3-point stance instead of the 2-point stance he had at Purdue.

The other is that he doesn’t have to be a hater anymore. Instead, he can just turn SEC offenses into haters of his.