Highest rated Ohio State football players in NCAA video game history

The NCAA video game series has been a pillar in many households since 1998 and for some even before that during the days of “Bill Walsh College Football.” It was downright devastating when EA Sport stopped producing the game after “NCAA ’14.”

The game — or a version thereof — is scheduled to return in time for the 2023 season and I just simply can’t wait. It got me wondering who the ten highest-rated Ohio State football players were in the video game’s history. It is important to remember that no names were used for the rosters, but we can make some safe assumptions that QB No. 2 would have been Terrelle Pryor. It’s part of the reason EA Sports had to stop making the game.

Another item of note is that it is extremely hard to find any rosters before the 2004 version, but I feel I exhausted my options and found the best results. I also want to note that the first “Bill Walsh College Football” game didn’t even have Ohio State and instead had an odd copycat team named Columbus. There were no individual player ratings and therefore that game was not used. Oh, and don’t forget, NCAA games were labeled a year in advance so the 2005 version of the game is actually for the 2004 season. Got it? No, maybe — sort of?

Let’s move forward anyway with the top ten rated Ohio State football players in the history of the “NCAA Football” video game franchise.

What Stood Out

Brandon Joe was the highest-rated player on the Ohio State roster in “NCAA Football 2005” at 96 overall and he was actually the only Buckeye on the roster to even hit the 90s territory. Odd as it may be, Brandon Joe was a fullback for Ohio State from 2000-2004 and was the prototypical Ohio State fullback.

November 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 at Notre Dame, he was a two-time All-Big Ten linebacker, and in “NCAA Football 2009,” Freeman was given a nice rating of 96 overall. To put into perspective how amazing that Ohio State team was in the video game, Freeman was tied for the third highest rating on the team with two others.

Sep 6, 2008; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive tackle Alex Boone (75) blocks 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 that legendary virtual roster was offensive lineman Alex Boone. He was also provided the rating of 96 overall in “NCAA Football 2009.” Boone was named All-Big Ten twice during his career in Columbus, Ohio.

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

What Stood Out

Malcolm Jenkins is one of the best defensive backs in Ohio State history and his 96 overall rating was honestly too low. Jenkins is actually one of the few Buckeyes to crack the 90 overall threshold twice as he was a 96 overall in “NCAA Football 2009,” and a 94 overall in “NCAA Football 2008.” Jenkins was named All-Big Ten three times, All-American twice, and won the Thorpe Award in 2008. I hear that’s pretty good.

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) throws a pass during the 1st quarter of the NCAA football game against Marshall at Ohio Stadium on 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 whopping three times with a 90 overall rating in “NCAA Football 2010,” a 94 overall in “NCAA Football 2011,” and an even better 96 overall in “NCAA Football 2012.” Pryor was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008 and was the Rose Bowl MVP in 2010.

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

What Stood Out

Braxton Miller would have likely surpassed 90 overall multiple times, but unfortunately, he was in the last version of the game. Miller was given a 96 overall rating in “NCAA Football 2014,” and for good reason. He was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2011, was twice named Big Ten MVP, twice named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, named the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year twice, and a two-time All-Big Ten performer .

January 2, 2006; Tempe, AZ USA; Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker (47) AJ Hawk talks with Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback (10) Brady Quinn following 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 finished his career as a national champion, a two-time Fiesta Bowl MVP, a two-time All-American, a Lombardi Trophy Award winner, a Jack Lambert Trophy Award Winner, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Jan 5, 2009; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes running back Chris Wells aka Beanie Wells (28) eludes 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 of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

What Stood Out

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

TEMPE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 2: Kick returner Chris Gamble #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes 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 will not return to OSU for his senior season and enter the NFL draft. The Buckeyes defeated the Wildcats 35-28. (Photo by Elsa /Getty Images)

What Stood Out

Chris Gamble is no doubt one of the greatest players in Ohio State history and I am glad he was able to get 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 especially well and seemed to never get tired.

November 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 Buckeye great and was 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 Laurinaitis is a Nagurski Trophy winner, three-time All-American, three-time All-Big Ten representative, Butkus Award winner, two-time Lambert Award winner, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, not to mention Lott Trophy winner. That’s a lot of hardware.

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