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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Five takeaways from the 2024 Maroon & White Spring Game

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Photo by Adriano Espinosa
Freshman QB Marcel Reed (10) saws ’em off with senior DL Shemar Turner (5) and sophomore DB Jayvon Thomas (14) after Texas A&M’s Spring Game at Kyle Field on Saturday, April 20, 2024. (Adriano Espinosa/The Battalion)

On a rainy Saturday, April 20 at Kyle Field, fans got their first glimpse at the new-look Texas A&M football team under coach Mike Elko in the annual Maroon & White spring game.

It was a tumultuous offseason for the Aggies with former coach Jimbo Fisher’s departure, Elko’s hiring and a barrage of roster moves.

The Maroon team won the game 24-10 over White; here is everything the fans learned in 2024’s Maroon and White spring game:

Newly-reinforced pass rush took over the game

Junior defensive lineman Nic Scourton was the best player on the field for either team. The Purdue transfer and reigning Second-Team All Big Ten member finished the game with 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

“He’s a troublemaker, that’s for sure,” sophomore offensive lineman Mark Nabou Jr. said. “He has high energy in practice and high energy in the scrimmages.”

Another stat sheet-stuffer for A&M was junior DL Shemar Stewart, who finished with a game-high seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.

“When we line up Nic Scourton on one side and Shemar Stewart on the other, I think we have the best defensive end combo that we’ve had here in a long time,” Elko said.

Filling the Edgerrin Cooper-sized void

Despite a rocky season for the Maroon and White in 2023, the front seven was stout, finishing 13th-best in the country in rushing defense. Projected NFL draft pick Edgerrin Cooper was a large part of this defense at linebacker, and with him no longer in the fray, Elko turned to the transfer portal to bring in junior LB Scooby Williams from Florida.

Williams often lined up as a weakside linebacker or overhang defender during the spring game and displayed sideline-to-sideline range to chase down running backs. Williams finished his day with five tackles and a pass breakup.

Aligned next to Williams was White team captain and junior LB Taurean York. York will step into a bigger role this upcoming season as the team’s true Mike LB. York also accumulated five total tackles and looked the part coming downhill and filling gaps against the run.

Offensive coordinator Collin Klein

Following an up-and-down offensive season that saw the Aggies score 33.3 points per game, Klein was hired as part of the complete rebuild of the coaching staff. The former Kansas State playcaller brings a diverse playbook with cutting-edge flourishes to the table.

The majority of the running concepts shown on Kyle Field were pin-and-pull based. The interior of the offensive line was often tasked to get on the move and work its way into the second level of the defense to spring runners for large gains, including sophomore RB Rueben Owens’ 61-yard gallop for a score.

Many of the offenses’ rushing and passing production came off of run-pass options. Klein gave his quarterbacks the freedom to toss the pigskin if the defensive look favored the pass or to hand the ball off to a running back if the box was lighter.

A deep quarterback room

Junior quarterback Conner Weigman is the team’s presumed starter and battled through sheets of rain to complete 4-of-14 passes for 47 yards for White. While the statline seems rough, Weigman showcased anticipation and arm talent to throw a 29-yard glance route to junior wide receiver Cyrus Allen and had several other catchable passes fall incomplete.

The Maroon team’s signal callers freshman Marcel Reed and junior Jaylen Henderson went a combined 18-of-27 with 184 yards and two touchdowns en route to scoring 24 points.

“I’m happy we have three quarterbacks,” Elko said. “There’s not a lot of programs across the country that have three kids who can go out there and operate an offense effectively right now.”

Emerging pass catchers

With WRs Evan Stewart’s defection to Oregon and Ainias Smith’s declaration for the NFL Draft, the Aggies will look for new faces to emerge in the wide receiver room.

Maroon and White stalwart senior Moose Muhammad III will be key in keeping continuity among the receiving corps. The aforementioned Allen transferred from Louisiana Tech to help bolster the room as well as provide special teams play.

Junior Noah Thomas stole the show for A&M with seven catches for 82 yards and made the highlight of the day, reeling in a Henderson touchdown pass while diving to the ground. The 6-foot-6 pass catcher has the frame to play on the outside, and A&M will hope that the Maroon & White game was a sign of things to come.

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