It’s a safe assumption that most folks that frequent this site had a pre-football season tradition (obsession?) of binge playing the fantastic NCAA Football video games series before each football season. The games would release each summer before the kick off of the college football season until the game’s developer (Electronic Arts) lost a monumental lawsuit that declared the game had been profiting off of the likeness of amateur athletes.
While Electronic Arts’ settlement to current and former NCAA athletes put the company in legal standing to release a new iteration of the franchise, it seems increasingly unlikely to happen in the near future.
Part of the allure of the game series was debating which athletes would find their way upon the game’s next cover. Since the game’s move to feature athletes on the cover rather than Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh in 1997, there have been 25 different players who have graced the cover of the legendary game.
Only two of those players represented a G5 school (Utah’s Brian Johnson on NCAA Football 10 for the PS3 and Boise State’s Jared Zabransky on NCAA Football 08).
So we ask, which player from the G5 would have the best shot at gracing the cover for NCAA Football 18?
Greg Ward Jr. - Houston - Quarterback
I’m afraid that standout quarterback Greg Ward Jr.’s contribution to the explosion of Houston’s football program might be lost in history. While former Head Coach Tom Herman was certainly the architect of the Cougars’ rise to national prominence, he couldn’t have done it without this dynamic athlete from Tyler, Texas.
Ward Jr. started his collegiate career at wide receiver but his move to quarterback helped set off the UH football explosion that was the #HTownTakeover. Ward Jr. was one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch over the past few years as his elusiveness and vision helped the Cougars’ offense score quickly. If Ward were to be available in an NCAA game then Ward Jr. would certainly have high skill ratings in elusiveness, speed, and agility, making him a pain to contain.
Carlos Henderson - Louisiana Tech - Wide Receiver
The wide receivers who have been given the cover of NCAA Football have been Desean Jackson (NCAA Football 09 PS2) and Larry Fitzgerald (NCAA Football 2005, the best NCAA football game ever for the record). Lightning speed and breathtaking receptions are what both of those receivers possessed and Henderson fits that mold as he toasted defensive backs every Saturday.
Corey Davis - Western Michigan - Wide Receiver
At 6’3”, 213 pounds Corey Davis has the frame and tools to follow in the footsteps of legendary G5 wide receivers that came before him such as Randy Moss and Victor Cruz. Davis was instrumental in WMU’s rise to notoriety as he routinely embarrassed Power Five defensive backs throughout his time in Kalamazoo. Assuming that Davis goes extremely early in the draft then the decision to put Davis on the cover of the hypothetical NCAA 2018 would be hard to argue with.
Donnel Pumphrey - San Diego State - Running Back
How could you turn down the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher? What Pumphrey lacks in stature (5’9”, 170 pounds) he makes up for with impeccable field vision, patience, explosiveness, and downright toughness. Pumphrey was instrumental in SDSU’s successful 2016 season, rushing for 2,133 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Pumphrey might not be a bonafide household name but he definitely should be.