May 25, 2024

NCAA Football covers by year: Full list of college football players on EA Sports cover since 1993

College football fans have put up with enough bad news about the state of the game in recent years. After realignment dominated the 2023 offseason, the 2024 offseason brings something much more exciting: EA College Football 25.

The classic NCAA Football video game is back. Well, almost. Wednesday marks the official reveal of the game, giving fans their closest look yet about when it will be released and what to expect once it’s out.

The return of the game means the return of cover athletes, whether it’s one player, multiple, or even several gracing the cover of EA College Football each year. The last decade of college football featured plenty of timeless stars, from Joe Burrow to Christian McCaffrey, but none of them got the opportunity to appear on the cover of a game with the EA Sports edition defunct. 

Here’s a look back at which players actually did land on the cover of EA College Football, which has changed up its approach a few times throughout its history.

MORE: Could the NCAA eliminate walk-ons under new proposal?

NCAA Football covers by year

Year Player School
1993 Bill Walsh*  
1994 Bill Walsh*  
1995 None**  
1996 Tommie Frazier Nebraska
1997 Danny Wuerffel Florida
1998 Charles Woodson Michigan
1999 Ricky Williams Texas
2000 Shaun Alexander Alabama
2001 Chris Weinke Florida State
2002 Joey Harrington Oregon
2003 Carson Palmer USC
2004 Larry Fitzgerald Pittsburgh
2005 Desmond Howard Michigan
2006 Reggie Bush USC
2007 Jared Zabransky Boise State
2008 Owen Schmitt (PSP)*** West Virginia
  DeSean Jackson (PS2) California
  Matt Ryan (PS3) Boston College
  Darren McFadden (Xbox 360) Arkansas
2009 Brian Orakpo (PS2) Texas
  Brian Johnson (PS3) Utah
  Mark Sanchez (PSP) USC
  Michael Crabtree (Xbox 360) Texas Tech
2010 Tim Tebow Florida
2011 Mark Ingram Alabama
2012 Robert Griffin III, Barry Sanders Baylor, Oklahoma State
2013 Denard Robinson Michigan
2024 Several players Several schools

* — The earliest editions of the game were initially named for Bill Walsh.

** — The 1995 edition of the game did feature players, but they were only small images that were, in some cases, unidentifiable. No standalone cover athlete was chosen until 1996.

*** — EA College Football produced different covers for different gaming systems in both 2008 and 2009.

MORE: What to know about new college football rules for 2024

NCAA Football 25 cover athletes

There will be two covers for EA College Football 25, EA Sports revealed after one cover leaked. The leaked cover features dozens of players walking out of a tunnel, along with flags with various school logos.

Only six players are identifiable, though: Texas QB Quinn Ewers, Colorado DB/WR Travis Hunter, Michigan RB Donovan Edwards, Alabama QB Jalen Milroe, Georgia QB Carson Beck, and Ohio State RB Quinshon Judkins. 

Edwards is an interesting choice as the most prominent player on the cover, as he was the Wolverines’ change-of-pace back in 2023, but putting him front and center is a nod to Michigan’s national championship. Ewers and Hunter are two of college football’s biggest names, with Hunter the choice over teammate Shedeur Sanders.

Beck and Milroe are popular Heisman Trophy candidates in the SEC, while Judkins transferred from Ole Miss to Ohio State in the offseason and is set to be a focal point of the Buckeyes’ offense in 2024.

It’s unclear what the second cover of the game will include, whether it’s one player, several more players, or no athletes at all. 

One key rule regarding covers has changed. The cover athlete of past editions of EA College Football were always NFL rookies or legends wearing their college uniforms because NCAA rules prohibited student-athletes from being on the cover. That’s no longer the case. If it was, there’s a good chance Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels, or Marvin Harrison Jr. would be on the cover this year despite being out of college football altogether.