EA Sports College Football: Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson Would Have Been on the Video Game Cover

The return of EA Sports College Football reminds us of what we missed, including cover athletes for the lost editions of the great gaming franchise.

One of the best things about the college football community is its resiliency. Even without EA Sports College Football video games for the past decade, they found ways to keep the game alive. We also missed out on a lot.

What upgrades would the game have made? Who would have been on the covers? It’s time to reminisce about who should have been EA Sports College Football cover athletes for every edition we were denied.

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Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson Headline EA Sports College Football Historical Cover Athletes

One of the most exciting things about the game is the cover athlete. Not only is it another step toward the game’s release, but it also creates a debate about who deserves to be immortalized as the face of the video game franchise.

Since the game stopped coming out in 2013, we missed out on multiple athletes who would have graced the game’s cover. Today, we look at who would have been the EA Sports College Football cover athletes in past versions of the game.

NCAA 15: Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona

Oh, what could have been for EA Sports NCAA 15! Not only did we miss out on a cover athlete, but this would have been the first game with the College Football Playoff. The cover athlete would have been debated heavily, but multiple intriguing options existed.

Scooby Wright tackled everything for the Arizona Wildcats, and his 2014 campaign was one of the best we’ve ever seen. He produced 164 tackles, 31.0 tackles for loss, 15.0 sacks, and five forced fumbles. Oregon Ducks QB Marcus Mariota would have been in the running after winning the Heisman Trophy in 2014.

NCAA 16: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

While Derrick Henry won the Heisman that year, no one would have sold more copies of the game than Leonard Fournette. His breathtaking highlight reel runs boosted his status in college football, and his 2015 campaign was one to remember. He ran for 1,953 yards and 22 touchdowns and would have been the perfect cover athlete.

Henry had a monster year too, so this year’s competition would have been fierce. Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Navy’s Keenan Reynolds would have also been in the running to be the EA Sports College Football cover athlete.

NCAA 17: Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

While there wasn’t a single cover athlete who won the Heisman the year prior, it would have been tough to keep Lamar Jackson off of the cover of NCAA 17. Arguably one of the best quarterbacks in college football history would have been a cheat code in the game, and he stood out in a loaded field of cover athletes.

EA Sports could have gone with a group of players this year if they didn’t want just one cover athlete. Alabama’s quartet of Ryan Anderson, Jonathan Allen, Tim Williams, and Reuben Foster combined for 63.5 tackles for loss and 33.0 sacks that year. Other elite players like Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Michigan’s do-it-all man Jabrill Peppers would have also been options.

NCAA 18: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

Part of picking an EA Sports College Football cover athlete involves going with a popular player at the time. After the 2017 season, Saquon Barkley was the talk of college football.

From his massive quads to his ridiculous runs, the Penn State Nittany Lions legend ensured everyone had their eyes on him. His competition for EA Sports College Football cover athlete wouldn’t have been tough, though Heisman Trophy winner Mayfield might have given him some competition.

NCAA 19: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue

I’ll admit that this one might be biased toward my appreciation for Rondale Moore, but the kid was that good at Purdue. Plus, his performance in an upset win over Ohio State in 2018 added to his resume. Every once in a while, EA Sports threw in an electric player who wasn’t mainstream, and Moore was exactly that.

MORE: EA Sports College Football 25: 99 Club Contenders

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy that year, so he would have also been in the running. One common theme in this article is how upset everyone should be that we missed out on so many electric cheat codes in the EA Sports College football franchise.

NCAA 20: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU

This one really isn’t debatable. The only thing you could argue is if Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson (or even the entire LSU team) should have been included on the cover.

Joe Burrow smashed records on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy that year, and the Tigers ran through nearly everyone on their way to landing a College Football National Championship.

NCAA 21: DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama

Honestly, this would have been a down year for cover athletes. Even with Alabama’s DeVonta Smith winning the Heisman, EA Sports might have considered an alternate route like they did in 2013. It would have also been the 25th version of the game, so they could have decided to pay tribute to previous players.

If they picked a current athlete, Smith would have been the runaway favorite. There wasn’t anyone who challenged him that year for the cover, though players like Tulsa’s Zaven Collins and Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson deserve some recognition for the special seasons they produced.

NCAA 22: Ahmad Gardner, CB, Cincinnati

A special Cincinnati Bearcats team that became the first Group of Five program to make the College Football Playoff featured a lockdown player with the special sauce.

Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner stole the spotlight this year and showed everyone why he was the best cornerback in college football (and yes, he shut down Alabama’s receivers in the playoff).

NCAA 23: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Another layup of a pick. Caleb Williams was one of the most electric players in college football on the way to a Heisman Trophy win. Even in a year full of explosive players, Williams stood above the rest. Throw in his polarizing persona in the media, and EA Sports would have an easy decision from a marketing perspective.

KEEP READING: EA Sports College Football 25: Top 10 Teams To Take to Glory in Dynasty Mode

Other EA Sports College Football cover athletes for this year include Texas’ Bijan Robinson, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, and Georgia’s Jalen Carter. Again, the list of players we didn’t get in the game hurts the most. All five players listed this year were cheat codes, and no one got to enjoy that luxury.

Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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