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Penn State Football’s All-Star ‘NCAA Football 22’ Roster

Could EA Sports’ “NCAA Football” franchise be back (In The Game)?

The NCAA announced that its Board of Governors had voted to begin the process of allowing college athletes to profit off their names and likeness last week. All three divisions within the NCAA will be able to implement new rules beginning in January 2021.

Since “NCAA Football 14,” the last game created before the franchise ended, there have been plenty of legendary Penn State football players. If a game were to come out tomorrow based on the last five seasons of college football that we were deprived of, here are our picks for who would make up the Nittany Lions’ team.

Quarterback: Trace McSorley

This is an obvious pick. Penn State Trace McSorley would be the “NCAA Football” equivalent of Michael Vick from “Madden NFL 04.”

The thought of getting to run a Nittany Lion offense with No. 9 under behind center has me nearly in tears. Imagine getting to relive the 2016 Big Ten Championship year with Penn State’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns?

As for an offensive scheme, I’d stick with Joe Moorhead’s 2016 playbook. McSorley threw 29 touchdowns that year, the most of his three seasons as the starter, so a consistent four verticals play call should work well for the Nittany Lion legend.

Aside from his arm, McSorley’s running ability would certainly make him fun to play with. In the last edition of “NCAA Football,” there were plenty of creative option plays that could be called. If this is the case with a possible next game, then players should be willing to use these play calls plenty with the quarterback. When No. 9 inevitably gets into the end zone, he should also be able to use his trademark home-run celebration in the game.

Running Back: Saquon Barkley

This pick shouldn’t come as a surprise either. The New York Giants star currently holds the record for all-time touchdowns (53), receiving yards by a running back (1,157), and rushing touchdowns (43) at Penn State. Barkley would be absolutely dominant in an NCAA football video game and would be a dream for any Nittany Lion fan to play with.

No. 26’s spin move and hurdle would be unstoppable in video game form — as we’ve already seen in the “Madden” series — and I’d fear for any opponent that would have to try and stop it. As for anyone using Barkley, I recommend mashing the B and Y buttons, and you’ll likely find success.

The second-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft already makes video game-like plays in the NFL, and he certainly did so during his time at Penn State. Barkley’s stat line against Iowa in 2017 — arguably his best performance as a Nittany Lion — would be a regular occurrence in this game.

Wide Receivers: Chris Godwin, KJ Hamler, and DaeSean Hamilton

Penn State has had some solid receiving corps over the past few seasons, but these three players are the most impressive. While Godwin and Hamilton are both currently in the NFL — playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos, respectively — Hamler is likely on his way to a pro career in the coming years.

Nittany Lion fans already know that Godwin and Hamilton were two of McSorley’s favorite targets during their Penn State careers. They both finished their careers with 18 touchdown grabs, tied for the fourth-most all-time at Penn State, while Hamilton holds the Nittany Lion record for catches with 214.

While the older pair would serve as constant, sure-handed receivers for McSorley, Hamler could be used as a home-run option. Although he only spent one season with the quarterback, Hamler has quickly built a resume that speaks for itself. Through just 21 games played, the redshirt sophomore already has 1,374 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

These three talented receivers would be impossible to cover for even the most talented gamers.

Tight End: Mike Gesicki

The 6’6″ tight end closes out Penn State’s offensive skill positions perfectly. Another favorite target of McSorley’s, Gesicki was a constant pass catcher for the Nittany Lions for three seasons. He finished his career with 15 receiving touchdowns along with 129 catches.

Gesicki’s size and speed would make him a favorite for anyone to play with, as he can catch passes in the open field and break tackles for big gains. I would expect the current Miami Dolphins tight end to become the “Gronk” of the video game reboot.

Earlier, I mentioned running four verticals with this offense. Gesicki fits perfectly into this play call. Just throw the ball up to the big man over the middle and let him get it, just like he did in the Blue and White.

Defensive Line: Yetur Gross-Matos, Jayson Oweh, Shaka Toney, and Shareef Miller

This was a tough position to pick just because of how impressive this group always is for Penn State. Considering the year they’re currently having, three of the four I chose are current Wild Dogs. Gross-Matos, Oweh, and Toney are three of the most impressive players that are currently on the roster as they have 15.5 sacks between them.

Gross-Matos and Toney are, without a doubt, the two leaders of the unit, but Oweh would be fun to play with just because of his pure athleticism. The defensive end’s 4.33-second 40-yard dash speed makes him an obvious pick for a video game.

Aside from the current Wild Dogs, Miller’s impressive Nittany Lion career can’t be ignored. He was a third-team All-Big Ten selection in 2018 and finished his time at Penn State with 100 total tackles and 14.5 sacks.

Linebackers: Jason Cabinda, Micah Parsons, Cam Brown

These three players would be perfect choices to represent “Linebacker U” in video game form. Cabinda will forever be considered a Penn State fan favorite, as he was an outspoken leader of the team throughout its return to college football prominence. He has 286 tackles to his name as a Nittany Lion, including several big stops in some of the most important Penn State games over the past few years.

As for Brown, the senior has worked his way up to a key role on Penn State’s linebacking core and is currently one of the team’s eight captains. Parsons is obviously also a key player for Penn State’s defense. It seems the sophomore is literally everywhere on the defensive side of the ball, as he leads the team with 57 total tackles in 2019.

Thanks to the combination of these three, the “LBU” tradition would translate well to a reboot of the game.

Secondary: Marcus Allen, Troy Apke, Lamont Wade, John Reid

Lockdown coverage and swagger would be the keys for this unit. Allen will bring most of the swagger to the table, as the video game creators will have to recreate his famous celebration after he forced a safety against Pitt. As for Apke, another current NFL player, his ability will make him a key player in Penn State’s video game secondary. He finished his Nittany Lion career with 111 tackles and two interceptions and gained plenty of attention when he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash.

Wade and Reid are both having strong 2019 seasons on Penn State’s secondary. Reid has been through plenty as a Nittany Lion — including a torn ACL — but he’s managed to persevere and remain as one of the top cornerbacks on the team. Wade has truly come into his own as a Nittany Lion in his junior season. The junior is third on the year with 42 tackles on the year and has been arguably the most consistent safety for Brent Pry’s defense.

Special Teams: Jordan Stout and Blake Gillikin

If a video game is to be created, the Flow Bros need to be a part of it. I expect EA Sports (or whoever the creator is) to add every bit of beautiful hair that belongs in Penn State’s special teams unit.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is Onward State's assistant sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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