Cooper DeJean and 9 other Hawkeyes we missed out on playing as in 'EA Sports College Football'

After 11 years, we finally have a new college football video game. But in those 11 years, we missed out on playing as some fun players.
Western Michigan v Iowa
Western Michigan v Iowa / Matthew Holst/GettyImages

While the return of EA Sports College Football 25 is exciting, it is a reminder that fans have gone 11 years without being able to play as some of their favorite college football players.

The Iowa Hawkeyes had some strong talent over the past decade, but unless you had access to the crowdsourced College Football Revamped project to continue playing NCAA 14 or went through the trouble of updating rosters, Iowa fans missed out on these players.

What overalls would they have had? How dominant could players be with these athletes? Well, that's all hypothetical. Maybe the Ultimate Team mode will give fans the chance to use some of these players.

But, until then, we can look back on some of the best Hawkeyes we didn't get to play as in the college football video game series.

Cooper DeJean

Defensive back and 2024 second-round pick Cooper DeJean might be the most obvious name on the entire list. He's top of mind, sure, but he was also an insane athlete for the Hawkeyes. There's no doubt DeJean would have been at least a 95 overall in a hypothetical 2024 edition of the game.

Cornerback users are rare, but those who have the skill to do so would be able to dominate with DeJean on the outside. But the real fun would be controlling DeJean on interceptions and kick returns.

Plus, in the virtual realm, there wouldn't be much stopping you from lining DeJean up as a slot receiver to boost the offense.

DeJean would have been one of the most fun players to use in this series overall, let alone among the Hawkeyes.

Alaric Jackson, Tyler Linderbaum, and Tristan Wirfs

The 2019 Hawkeye offensive line was loaded. Alaric Jackson, Tristan Wirfs and Tyler Linderbaum were the stars of the group that helped the Hawkeyes secure a 10-3 season and a win over USC in the Holiday Bowl.

Wirfs and Linderbaum went on to be first-round picks in the NFL Draft while Jackson had a ton of hype around him heading into the season. The unit averaged 137 yards per game on the ground and was rightfully regarded as one of the 10 best lines in the sport.

Sure, you typically can't play as offensive linemen in these games. But, whether you were looking to pass with Nate Stanley or run with Tyler Goodson or Mekhi Sargent, Iowa users were sure to be led by these impressive trench players.

Linderbaum was a redshirt freshman, so his overall may have been in the high 70s for this roster. Meanwhile, Wirfs and Jackson would have each surely been at least 91.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell had over 300 tackles during his time at Iowa. Throw in his five interceptions, three forced fumbles and three recoveries, this stat-sheet-filling linebacker would have been a dominant piece for Iowa fans using the 2021 and 2022 defenses.

Campbell ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, but his playing speed has always been impressive. With his favorable athletic traits alongside his elite football skills, Campbell would easily have been in the mid-90s for his overall rating heading into his final season.

TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant

In the 2019 NFL Draft, both TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant were selected in the first round. If fans could have used them in NCAA 19, it simply wouldn't have been fair.

In real life, Hockenson and Fant record 88 receptions for 1,279 yards and 13 touchdowns collectively. Gamers likely would have nearly abandoned the run to boost those numbers with both of these tight ends at their disposal.

It's not often you have two 90+ overall tight ends on you roster, but it sure is fun when you do.

A.J. Epenesa

Once thought of as a potential first-overall pick, A.J. Epenesa tallied 26.5 sacks over three seasons at Iowa.

Opposing offenses would cower at the thought of Iowa fans using Epenesa off the edge. With an excellent combination of size, speed and strength, it wouldn't be too surprising to have seen players eclipse the already impressive numbers Epenesa posted in reality.

Heading into a hypothetical NCAA 20, Epenesa likely would have been the highest-rated Hawkeye in the game, and maybe even the highest-rated pass rusher. A 97 or 98 overall for Epenesa wouldn't have been at all surprising.

Tory Taylor

Sure, you don't want to have your punter on the field when playing these video games, but it sure is nice when you have the best one in the game.

Besides, Taylor didn't get to run that many trick plays in reality. This is a video game. Go crazy and have Taylor throw and run the rock a little bit.

Taylor would have a 99 kick power rating for sure, whether or not his overall crept into the 90s is probably a different story.

George Kittle

Yes, George Kittle was on the 2013 Iowa roster, but no he was not in NCAA 14. TE #46 was not a member of that roster, so even though he very well should have been usable, fans didn't get to play as Kittle.

Kittle, of course, wasn't a first-round pick like many of the Iowa tight ends to follow him. But he did show some flashes of what he'd go on to become in the NFL while playing for the Hawkeyes.

Kittle only caught 48 passes for 737 yards and 10 scores at Iowa. Truthfully, his final rating may have been capped at 84 overall.

But, if gamers could turn back time to use Kittle, they'd boost those numbers and see if they could get him drafted higher than the fifth round.

When will EA Sports College Football 25 be released?

EA Sports College Football 25 will officially be released on July 19, 2024, for the Xbox One Series X|S and PlayStation 5.

The game is now available for pre-order with a Standard Edition for $69.99, a Deluxe Edition for $99.99, and an MVP edition for $149.99 which bundles the Deluxe Edition with EA Sports Madden NFL 25 Deluxe Editionwhich will be released in August.

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