History of USC football players who have appeared on NCAA Football game covers

We are nearly a month from the highly anticipated release of EA Sports NCAA Football 2025 video game. Sadly, no USC football player, past or present, is featured on the game's cover. However, the Trojans have a rich history in NCAA Football game cover appearances.
NCAA Football - USC vs. Kansas State - September 21, 2002
NCAA Football - USC vs. Kansas State - September 21, 2002 / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

The first installment of EA Sports NCAA Football in over a decade will be released on July 19. EA announced Michigan's Donovan Edwards, Texas's Quinn Ewers, and Colorado's Travis Hunter nearly a month ago as cover athletes. All three players are current student-athletes, thus making the video game's cover a first-of-its-kind.

USC football alums have appeared on multiple video game covers.

The first USC alum to grace the NCAA Football video game cover was Carson Palmer in 2004. The former Trojans quarterback was an obvious choice, considering he entered the NFL Draft nearly four months before the game's release. Also, Palmer departed USC, having led the Trojans to its first national championship since 1978.

Palmer also won the Heisman Trophy in 2002.

Trojans fans did not have to wait long to add another USC video game cover to their collection. Recently reinstated 2005 Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush donned the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 2007. Like Palmer, Bush appeared months after he entered the NFL Draft.

The first non-USC Heisman Trophy winner to show on a cover was former quarterback Mark Sanchez in 2010. Sanchez might seem odd, but he was among several former college players to share the cover athlete honors. Four players donned the game's various covers in 2010, with Sanchez appearing on the game's PSP PlayStation Portable) cover.

Why the NCAA now allows current college football players as cover athletes.

Under its former policy, the NCAA did not allow student-athletes to profit from their name, image, or likeness. Thus, all previous editions of EA Sports NCAA Football featured former college players. Things changed in 2021 when college football's sanctioning body changed its policy.

Today, student-athletes can benefit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), including video game appearances. Such was great news for those of us who have longed for the return of EA Sports NCAA Football. Thankfully, EA Sports put the wheels in motion to revive the game after the NCAA instituted its current NIL policy.

Not long ago, all current FBS players had to opt in or out of their NIL appearance in the NCAA Football game. The players who opted in will receive a $600 check from EA Sports. Most players wasted little time opting into the game. However, Texas's Arch Manning was among the few players who passed on the opportunity.

USC alum Caleb Williams wins fans over with this humble gesture. dark. Next. Story Link

Ewers' appearance on EA Sports NCAA Football 2025 moves Texas into a second-place tie with USC for the most players on a cover. Michigan claims the most cover athletes with four. To this point, the most famous cover features Denard Robinson circa 2014, the last installment of the game.