ESPN releases hypothetical NCAA video game covers for 11 years missed by the game’s hiatus

The long-awaited EA Sports College Football 2025 video game is set to be released on July 19, and with some of the teaser trailers coming out, the anticipation is at an all-time high. The game notoriously had to take a hiatus due to athletes not being paid, but with name, image, likeness policy, the game is finally back. It was already one of the most popular sports video games of all time, but with over a decade away, the excitement is palpable.

We already know that the three cover athletes for this year’s video game will be Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers, Michigan Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards and Colorado Buffaloes  versatile wide receiver/defensive back Travis Hunter. Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Milroe will appear on the deluxe cover if you’re willing to pay a little more.

With all of the buzz around the new game and cover, ESPN picked cover stars for the 11 years the game was on hiatus. They voted former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa as the cover athlete of NCAA Football 19 which would have been released in Summer 2018. Some of the other contenders that year were Stanford’s RB Bryce Love, Houston’s DE Ed Oliver and Wisconsin Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor.

ESPN’s David Hale said of the cover selection,

“As much fun as it would’ve been to see the Clemson Tigers D-linemen don their famous Power Rangers costumes on the game’s cover, the buzz in the summer of 2018 was all about Tagovailoa. He’d come off the bench at halftime to rescue Alabama from the abyss in the national championship game, making him a rare combination of genuine star power and unknown commodity. The only problem with the choice is the reaction it would’ve undoubtedly engendered from Nick Saban, who wasn’t entirely eager to stoke the flames of the supposed QB battle between Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts that summer. Of course, if NIL rules were in place in 2018, does anyone think Hurts would’ve stuck around to ride the bench anyway?”

Other winners included: Florida State Seminoles WR Rashad Greene (2015), Ohio State Buckeyes DE Joey Bosa (2016), Stanford RB Christian McCaffery (2017), Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (2018), Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence (2020), LSU Tigers CB Derek Stingley (2021), Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei (2022), Georgia Bulldogs TE Brock Bowers (2023), USC Trojans QB Caleb Williams (2024).

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Story originally appeared on Roll Tide Wire