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Ohio State’s highest-rated football player in NCAA video game history

The NCAA video game series has been a mainstay in many homes since 1998, and for some even before that in the days of “Bill Walsh College Football.” It was downright devastating when EA Sport halted production of the game after NCAA ’14.

The game – or a version of it – is set to return in time for the 2023 season, and I just can’t wait. I was wondering who the ten highest rated Ohio State soccer players in video game history were. It’s important to remember that no names were used for the rosters, but we can make some safe guesses that #2 QB would have been Terrelle Pryor. That’s one of the reasons EA Sports had to stop developing the game.

Another notable point is that it’s extremely difficult to find rosters prior to the 2004 version, but I feel like I’ve exhausted my options and found the best results. I would also like to point out that the first Bill Walsh College Football game didn’t even have Ohio State, but instead had a weird copycat team called Columbus. There were no individual player ratings and therefore this game was not used. Oh, and don’t forget, NCAA games were marked a year in advance, so the 2005 version of the game is actually meant for the 2004 season. I have it? No, maybe – somehow?

Anyway, let’s continue with the ten highest rated Ohio State football players in the history of the NCAA Football video game franchise.

No. 5 (tie) – Brandon Joe, 96 overall (2005 NCAA Football)

What stood out

Brandon Joe was the highest-rated player on the Ohio State roster in “NCAA Football 2005” with a total of 96 and he was, in fact, the only buckeye on the roster to even reach ’90s territory. As odd as it may be, Brandon Joe was a fullback for Ohio State from 2000-2004 and was the prototypical Ohio State fullback.

No. 5 (tie) – Marcus Freeman, 96 overall (2009 NCAA Football)

Nov 22, 2008; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Marcus Freeman (1) in action against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODay Sports

What stood out

Before Marcus Freeman became the head coach of Notre Dame, he was a two-time All Big Ten linebacker, and in “NCAA Football 2009” Freeman received a fine 96 overall rating. To illustrate how great the Ohio State team was in video games, Freeman received the third highest rating on the team, along with two others.

No. 5 (tie) – Alex Boone, 96 overall (2009 NCAA Football)

Sep 6, 2008; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive tackle Alex Boone (75) makes a save against Ohio Bobcats defensive end Kris Luchsinger (54) at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What stood out

One of Freeman’s teammates on this legendary virtual roster was offensive lineman Alex Boone. He also earned a 96 overall in NCAA Football 2009. Boone was named an All-Big Ten twice during his career in Columbus, Ohio.

No. 5 (tie) – Malcolm Jenkins, 96 overall (2009 NCAA Football)

Jan 5, 2008; Glendale, Arizona, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) during warm-up practice before the 2009 Fiesta Bowl against the Texas Longhorns at University of Phoenix Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image by Sports-USA TODAY Sports

What stood out

Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best defensemen in Ohio State history and his overall rating of 96 was frankly too low. Jenkins is actually one of the few Buckeyes to have broken the 90 overall threshold twice, having been a 96 overall in “NCAA Football 2009” and a 94 overall in “NCAA Football 2008”. Jenkins was a three-time All-Big Ten, twice All-American, and won the 2008 Thorpe Award. I heard that’s pretty good.

No. 5 (tie) – Terrelle Pryor, 96 overall (2012 NCAA Football)

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) throws a pass during the 1st quarter of the NCAA football game against Marshall at Ohio Stadium September 2, 2010. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

What stood out

Terrelle Pryor is one of the best virtual quarterbacks of all time. He crossed the 90 overall threshold a total of three times with a 90 overall in NCAA Football 2010, a 94 overall in NCAA Football 2011, and an even better 96 overall in NCAA Football 2012..” Pryor was the 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the 2010 Rose Bowl MVP.

No. 5 (tie) – Braxton Miller, 96th overall (2014 NCAA Football)

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) loses Michigan Wolverines defensive end Ryan Van Bergen (53) in the 3rd quarter during their NCAA college football game at Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan November 26, 2011 . (Shipping photo by Kyle Robertson)

What stood out

Braxton Miller would probably have surpassed 90 overall several times, but unfortunately he was in the final version of the game. Miller earned an overall rating of 96 in NCAA Football 2014, and with good reason. He was the 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, twice named Big Ten MVP, twice Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, twice Big Ten Quarterback of the Year, and twice All-Big Ten Performer.

No. 3 (tie) – AJ Hawk, 97 overall (2006 NCAA Football)

Jan 2, 2006; Tempe, AZ USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker (47) AJ Hawk talks to Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback (10) Brady Quinn after the Fiesta Bowl. Ohio State won 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2006 Matt Cashore

What stood out

It’s hard to believe, but AJ Hawk was actually underrated at just 97 overall. Hawk ended his career as a national champion, two-time Fiesta Bowl MVP, two-time All-American, Lombardi Trophy Award winner, Jack Lambert Trophy Award winner, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

No. 3 (tie) – Beanie Wells, 97 overall, (NCAA Football 2009)

Jan 5, 2009; Glendale, Arizona, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Chris Wells aka Beanie Wells (28) evades a tackle attempt by Texas Longhorns defensive end Bryan Orakpo (98) in the first half at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Texas defeated Ohio State 24-21. Credit: Kirby Lee/Image by Sports-USA TODAY Sports

What stood out

Beanie Wells is another stud on the 2009 NCAA Football team. His 97 overall rating was well deserved as he was named an All-Big Ten and All-American during his Ohio State career and then went on to have a solid career in the NFL, primarily with the Green Bay Packers.

No.1 (tie) – Chris Gamble, 99 overall (NCAA Football 2004)

TEMPE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 2: Ohio State Buckeyes kick returner Chris Gamble #7 catches a pass during the game against the Kansas State Wildcats in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on January 2, 2004 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. Gamble announced after the game that he would not be returning to OSU for his senior season and would be drafted in the NFL. The Buckeyes defeated the Wildcats 35-28. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

What stood out

Chris Gamble is without a doubt one of the greatest players in Ohio State history and I’m glad he earned some respect with a 99 overall rating. I always thought he was underrated and underutilized on offense. The national champion and All-Big Ten representative played both sides of the ball for the Buckeyes – both particularly well and never seemed to tire.

No.1 (tie) – James Laurinaitis, 99 overall (2009 NCAA Football)

Nov 22, 2008; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker James Laurinaitis (33) in action against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What stood out

James Laurinaitis is another big Buckeye and has been rated over 90 twice during his career, with a 95 overall rating in NCAA Football 2008 and a 99 overall rating in NCAA Football 2009..” These high ratings are well deserved considering that Laurinaitis is a Nagurski Trophy winner, three-time All-American representative, three-time All-Big Ten representative, Butkus Prize winner, two-time Lambert Prize winner, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, not to mention the Lott Trophy winner. That’s a lot of hardware.

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