Who should be on the cover?
We’re over a year away from the release of EA Sports College Football. To waste time, fans and pros alike like to speculate on various aspects of the game. One of those conversations, of course, is based on the cover. Even though we still have another year of NCAA football before the game’s release, doesn’t that mean we can’t debate who deserves a title spot?
Here are some coaches and players who deserve a chance to be on the cover of EA Sports’ upcoming college football game.
Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State
One of the country’s most popular players will return to cause a stir in the 2023 CFB season.
It seems quite fitting that Harrison Jr. could get a spot on the cover. He will be fighting to enter the 2024 NFL draft, but until then he has to prove himself to the NFL scouts in 2023. Last season, he was named Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. Harrison Jr. returns as OSU’s top receiver option and one of the top receivers in the country.
He took charge after Jaxon Smith-Njigba missed most of the season through injury. With CJ Stroud, the two formed an extremely powerful offensive duo. It remains to be seen how he will fare next year with a new QB. Whether it’s Kyle McCord or Devin Brown taking snaps, they can breathe easy knowing they have a great receiver to help them.
The Harrison surname is making a comeback in the pro league, and college football games are making a comeback in the video game world, seems symbolically appropriate. It would be cool to see Harrison Jr. and his dad share the cover together. A passing of the torch, for both father and son, and for the game series that begins anew.
Blake Corum, RB, Michigan
Six players were ahead of Corum in the 2022 Heisman election. All of these players went into the NFL, giving him the perfect chance to win one himself. Corum announced he will be playing at Michigan for the fourth time in 2022 despite a strong performance. He is coming off his best season in which he rushed for over 1,500 yards from scrimmage and had 19 touchdowns. And all this despite missing the last two games.
Unfortunately, his 2022 season was cut short due to a knee injury. However, Corum is determined to make a comeback and make a name for himself. While everyone was talking about Bijan Robinson in 2022, hopefully 2023 will be Corum’s year.
Halfbacks aren’t particularly loved these days. People dismiss the position, saying it’s not that important. While it’s true that many RBs don’t have a significant career ahead of them after their first few pro seasons, we think Corum might be an exception to that rule. A cover appearance on EA Sports’ latest game would also be a pretty great farewell.
The last NCAA football game cover athlete was Denard Robinson. So it might be biased to bring in another Michigan player. However, Corum’s skills are undeniable.
Kirby Smart, HC, Georgia
Who says trainers can’t be on the cover?
Kirby Smart has not lost a football game since December 4, 2021. Even then, the loss went to No. 3 Alabama, currently one of the few other powerhouses in the country. However, Smart was able to retaliate just a month later in the CFP National Championship after Georgia recovered in the fourth quarter to take the title.
2023 marks Smart’s eighth season with the team. So far he has lost only 15 games and has now made three appearances in the national championship. With six bowls and two national championships, it’s fair to say this guy knows what he’s doing.
We’ll see how well Georgia does now that many of its star defensive players have joined the NFL (or, more specifically, the Philadelphia Eagles). Even if Georgia understandably regresses and potentially misses the playoffs, we’re sure it won’t diminish his accomplishments.
But Smart has done enough in less than a decade to prove he’s cover-worthy. He’s taken the league by storm and it will be refreshing to see a relatively new face in a brand new college football game series.
Caleb Williams, QB, USC
It is currently speculated that Williams will be the first pick overall in the 2024 NFL draft. If he’s not #1 overall, he’ll likely be the first QB to be drafted and off the board after the third or fifth pick. As a freshman, he went 5-2 with the Oklahoma Sooners and had 27 touchdowns in just seven starts.
He really came into his own after joining USC in his sophomore year. His outstanding play earned him the Heisman Trophy in 2022. He led the Trojans’ offense, which ranked third in yards per game with 506 yards per game. The Trojans also ranked third in passing yards per game with 335 yards per encounter.
Before the move, USC suffered a terrible 4-8 season, their worst since 1991. It’s safe to say that Williams’ game and leadership helped bolster the offense and become one of the best in the country.
The beauty of Williams is that he can both pass and run during times of double threat QBs. He threw 42 touchdowns and ran for 10 more in 2022. Also, he is extremely careful with the ball, only turning it over 7 times in 2022 (5 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles). That’s a little more than a 7:1 touchdown turnover ratio.
The first USC Heisman since Reggie Bush in 2005, Williams is a stallion. He will have another year to prove his playing skills before likely entering the NFL draft. Williams could and should be the first player to lead the new series of college football video games.
Nick Saban, HC, Alabama
Again, who says trainers can’t be on the cover?
Yes, that’s a pretty obvious choice here, but what did you expect? The seven-time national champion has brought nothing but success to the Alabama football program. Each year, his players are picked early in the NFL draft as he recruits new players of insane talent. In addition to being a great school in Alabama, Saban has been involved with other great programs such as Ohio State (DB), Michigan State (DC/DB), and LSU (HC). In 2003, he won a championship with LSU.
Nick Saban has been a major figure in college football history for most of the last 50 years. He had a few brief stints in the NFL where he wasn’t very successful. But that doesn’t take away from the impact he’s had on sports at the collegiate level.
Never has a coach been on the cover of an NCAA game. Saban is unlikely to break this tradition. However, we believe he would be a huge exception if they did. We just had John Madden on the cover of Madden NFL 23, so who knows. Understandably, however, most fans want an athlete.
Saban played against DB at Kent State? Does that count?
Honorable Mentions: Here are a few players and coaches that we think also deserve recognition. They would also be great contenders for the cover of the game.
Bill Walsh, HC, Stanford
Given EA Sports’ first college football video game centered around Walsh, it seems fitting for the series to return. Walsh coached Stanford for two years before coaching the San Francisco 49ers for ten years. Three Super Bowl wins later, he returned to Stanford for three more seasons. While his college coaching career was not as successful as his NFL tenure, he still has a rich legacy.
Madden NFL 23 honored legendary head coach John Madden by putting him on the cover. Putting him on the cover would be a nice way to honor Walsh and the history of college football video games.
Danny Wuerffel, QB, Fla
The Heisman Award-winning QB became the first athlete to be featured on an NCAA football cover after his appearance at NCAA Football 98.
Although his NFL career didn’t turn out the way he envisioned, he was a phenomenal collegiate player. Wuerffel became the first player with a 170 QB rating in two straight seasons and earned a spot on the ’98 cover. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and his awards show why. Cube was a:
Heisman Winner, Maxwell Award Winner, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Winner, Walter Camp Award Winner
He also led the Gators to four SEC championships and one national championship. He ended his glittering collegiate career with a 52-20 win over Florida State in the 1997 Sugar Bowl. In his four years in Florida, the team went 45-6-1. Obviously, the whole team deserves credit, but Cube deserves a lot as well.
It would be difficult to convince the developers of the cover. Not many people outside of Florida know who he is, and he’s barely played in the NFL. But since it’s not technically impossible, it would be cool to pay homage to him.
For more information on the upcoming EA Sports College Football and other sports games, visit ClutchPoints Gaming.