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NFL Draft

Best Cover Athletes For Returning EA College Football Game

  • The Draft Network
  • February 2, 2021
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It is with the biggest smile I can possibly muster that I type the news to you all that EA Sports announced this week that college football is coming back to their video game platform.

Now, we’ll get to the exciting part of things where we discuss who we want to see on the cover, but before we get there, we do have to mention a few points and observations that came after the initial announcement.

First of all, the announcement did not have “NCAA” on it. The franchise that we all know and love was, of course, called “NCAA Football” each year. That all came to a halt after NCAA Football 2014 was released due to legal disputes over the fact that the game was profiting off the name, image, and likeness (NIL) of college football players in what is classified as an amateur sport (not for pay). Once all that came to the forefront, the games ceased to be made.

The acronym “NCAA” being absent from the announcement does raise some eyebrows, although EA is likely making this announcement with a plan in place that understands NIL cases around the country are going in favor of the players—and though they might not be able to call the game “NCAA” with any player specifics right now, when the game does come out, that could change.

There is no timetable on when the next college football game will be released. It likely won’t be for this upcoming football season, but it could very well be for the next one. 

Let’s have a little fun and talk about some of the big names who could be on a cover if released this year, as well as who could be a future cover athlete if the initial release happens more than a year from now. To read about the features we hope are in the next college football game, click here.

NCAA Football 2022 Cover Players

Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson

This one is the obvious choice. If Trevor Lawrence couldn’t get a Heisman Trophy in his collegiate career—which seems crazy to believe but is true—then being on the cover of NCAA would be a nice consolation for his three prominent years at Clemson. 

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Smith was unstoppable in 2020. He recorded 1,856 receiving yards with 23 receiving touchdowns, collecting Alabama records as well as a national championship in the process. Smith was simply brilliant in his final season to cap off an amazing career.

Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State

Fields’ past two seasons at Ohio State have yielded two Big Ten titles and two College Football Playoff appearances. Though he didn’t capture any national hardware outside of the conference, he was one of the most notable players in the country over the last two years.

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

This one is purely off 2020, but not many players in college football were as fun to watch as Wilson. His stats weren’t as good as his peers’, but when you think of playing an NCAA game, Wilson is the kind of player you think of controlling at the quarterback position. He embodies that NCAA video game style, so I think he should be considered. 

NCAA Football 2023 Cover Players

D.J. Uiagalelei, QB, Clemson

The next in line from the Clemson royal QB family is Uiagalelei. In two games, he threw for over 300 and over 400 yards, and in doing so ramped up a lot of excitement for his future in that program. If NCAA isn’t coming out until the summer of 2022, perhaps he’s the cover man after one year as a full-time starter.

Derek Singley Jr., CB, LSU

While Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and others were lighting up college football scoreboards on offense, there was an insanely talented cornerback who was making waves as just a true freshman on LSU’s defense. If the game wants to go defense, Stingley Jr. might be their most high profile guy to do it.

Spencer Rattler, QB, Oklahoma

Rattler was a former 5-star quarterback who was set to be next in line after the Mayfield-Murray 1-2 punch for the Sooners. In his first year as a starter, he threw for more than 3,000 yards with 28 passing touchdowns. He has the potential to take a big leap in 2021 and light the college football world on fire. If he does, what a name to have on the first cover of the new college football video game era.

NCAA Football 2022: Legends Edition

Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray

Whether the game comes out in 2021, 2022, or heck, even 2023—please don’t make us wait that long—the game needs to have some sort of legends edition where they have a Mount Rushmore of players who we didn’t have the chance to play with in the NCAA football games that were missed. Guys like Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, and Kyler Murray immediately come to mind. Throw in players like Saquon Barkley, Baker Mayfield, Patrick Mahomes, Leonard Fournette, and Derrick Henry too. Now I’m just having fun.

I would love to see some sort of premium edition of the game where four of those players were all on the cover together, and much like Madden, let you play with legendary teams of the past. If EA can get the rights for it, they should absolutely allow us to play with those players on their best respective teams over the years.

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