A huge announcement from EA Sports made kids who grew up in the 2010s extremely happy today as it was announced that the NCAA video game would be returning to production.
The NCAA game was a huge reason any kid who grew up in the 2000s became fans of the sport. It gave us an idea of how unfair Tim Tebow was in real life and how freakishly athletic guys like Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin were.
NCAA football did for my generation what Tecmo Bowl and Madden did for the generations before. It turned College football stars into folk heroes from how unstoppable they were in the game.
It also helped a generation of college football bond with their team. Not only did I get to play as some of my favorite guys ever, like Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen, but I also got to live out a fantasy dream by building out my character and sending him to South Bend, where he was the one who brought ND all the way back.
Unfortunately, since the game stopped being made following NCAA’14, which featured rosters from the 2013 football season, College Football fans have missed out on getting to play as guys like Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson.
Video game guys like the three just mentioned would’ve been a blast to play with, but Notre Dame fans missed out on some DUDES that would’ve made playing as the Irish in recent years extremely fun, so let’s go over a few. I tried to keep it to one guy per position.
1. Ian Book
Love him or hate him ( although if it’s not love at this point, I don’t understand why), Ian Book would’ve been an ideal QB to play within the NCAA games. It’s no secret that scrambling QBs were not only the most fun to play with but also the hardest to stop in a game predicated on offense. Growing up, I didn’t often choose the Irish when competing against my friends due to this reason. As much as I loved Brady Quinn or Jimmy Clausen, it was easier to score with Pat White or Tyrod Taylor. Book and even Brandon Wimbush would’ve been a blast to play in more modern versions of the game.
2. Will Fuller
Perhaps the most exciting offensive player for the Irish in the Brian Kelly era, and we never got to see him unleashed in the NCAA game. The one attribute that the game really made stand out was speed, and boy, did Fuller have no shortage of that. In recent years, the Irish have developed great possession receivers, but those guys never gave you the big plays in the video game. Getting to launch verticals to Will Fuller would’ve provided hours of entertainment.
3. Cole Kmet
Cole Kmet might not be the most memorable player in the last five years, but he was still very productive for a year and was a 1st round draft pick. Tight ends play a crucial role in NCAA videogames mostly because of how reliable they were on 3rd and short. But the most crucial reason they mattered was for 3rd and long situations when the four verts was called. Everyone who has ever played any iteration of Madden or NCAA has almost certainly at once called the ‘four verts’ play.
That key to making that play unstoppable was an excellent tight end, which the Irish usually did in the games. Kmet would’ve been the next great tight end in the game as well as on the field.
4. Kyle Hamilton
Playing defense in the game is nearly impossible, and the easiest path to victory usually was controlling the clock and winning the turnover battle. If you could turn your opponent over just once or twice, you were more than likely going to win the game. Enter Kyle Hamilton. Easily the best defensive back to play for the Irish during the game’s off-years and a human highlight reel.
Hamilton would probably have a higher catch rating than any of the WRs on the team, and not to mention if you played as the Irish, you could sub Hamilton at WR and see what he does.
5. C.J. Prosise
C.J. is one of the more underappreciated players of the last ten years and would be an asset to any videogame offense he was a part of. He was converted to a RB from a WR, so he was a reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield. He also possessed the speed as a runner that we talked about as important to the game. C.J. could always be one spin move away from busting one for 50 yards.
- Chase Claypool – Fast, strong, big guys play in any iteration of football ever whether it’s video-game or reality. Targeting Claypool on a comeback route would feel like cheating.
- Jeremiah Owusu Koramoah – The only fun part of playing D was blitzing, and I can’t think of a better gut to try and track down a QB with.
- Braden Lenzy – Lenzy would be perfect for running a lot of the triple-option stuff as well as jet sweeps and WR screens.
- Brandon Wimbush – A guy that almost was made for NCAA Football where your ability to pass is kind of irrelevant, and a freak athlete.
- Dexter Williams – Elite speed that was capable of busting a big play every time.
These are just my opinions, and at the end of the day, I’d love to play as all these guys. Let me know what you think on Twitter @Blaiseweber_