For many of us, NCAA was more than just a video game, it was an extension of our knowledge, fandom, and experiences in the world of football.
Some love it for the ridiculousness that can be coerced out of an AI, such as exploiting glitches on read options or the fact that the CPU can never figure out how to cover a halfback screen.
Others loved online play, where they could test their skills against friends— and subsequently throw controllers across the room and call the game broken.
Still more (talking about yours truly here) loved the ability to play with and customize rosters. Though I wasn’t one to make a 7’0” 400-pound quarterback with max speed, I was never satisfied with what the makers of the game decided were appropriate ratings for the Alabama players.
So, in the absence of any meaningful football news this offseason (which, don’t get me wrong, is a very good thing. No arrests, no major suspensions, no reappearances of Brandon Chicken), I’ve decided to practice an exercise in futility by creating my own NCAA 18 roster for Alabama.
Some constraints: the game, for whatever reason, didn’t allow 85 players like would be scholarshipped on a real roster, and instead I have 68 players to work with. So not every player on the team is included. Many of the summer enrollees won’t be on the list since I have little information on them.
I also tried really hard to incorporate each player’s athletic testing last spring into their physical attributes and have them compare to each other as realistically as possible. (example, Jalen Hurts ran a very slightly faster 40 yard dash than Josh Jacobs, so Hurts’ speed is just slightly higher, despite conventional wisdom saying that the speedy running back should be faster than the QB).
For those of you who never really got into the game, here’s a quick rundown: every player is given a rating of 0-99 on a different attribute, whether it be physical characteristics like speed and strength, mental characteristics like play recognition and awareness, or position specific skills like catching, run blocking, or tackling. Those ratings are all compiled and weighted based on position, and the player is given a final “overall” rating.
So with that said, lets get to it!
- Jalen Hurts- 86 overall
- Tua Tagovailoa- 82 overall
- Mac Jones- 74 overall
Jalen has some impressive physical attributes with 91 speed and 93 acceleration. He also leads the group with 90 throw power
Tua, on the other hand, leads with 89 throw accuracy.
- Damien Harris- 88 overall
- Bo Scarbrough- 87 overall
- Josh Jacobs- 85 overall
- Najee Harris- 84 overall
- B.J. Emmons- 78 overall
Damien Harris leads the way with 96 agility and 92 ballcarrier vision. Scarbrough has a ridiculous 86 strength and 96 trucking, though he is a bit hampered with only a 71 injury rating.
Josh Jacobs is the fastest back with 90 speed, and also has elite ratings with a 95 elusiveness and 95 jumping.
- Calvin Ridley-92 overall
- Robert Foster- 84 overall
- Cam Sims- 83 overall
- Jerry Jeudy- 83 overall
- Derek Keif- 78 overall
- Henry Ruggs- 77 overall
- Xavian Marks- 75 overall
Xavian Marks is the athletic monster here, leading the way with 95 speed, 97 agility, 96 acceleration, and a ridiculous-for-a-tiny-WR 72 strength.
Calvin Ridley and Henry Ruggs are right behind him, with 94 speed each. Ridley also has a 90 spectacular catching. Derek Keif also made his mark by leading the group with 93 jumping.
- Miller Forristall- 79 overall
- Hale Hentges- 77 overall
- Irv Smith- 75 overall
Forristall is the best receiver of the three with 82 catching and 86 catch in traffic. Smith, meanwhile, is the most athletic, his impressive testing last spring earning him 86 speed and 85 acceleration.
- Jonah Williams- 89 overall
- Scott Lashley- 76 overall
Jonah Williams is an athletic monster, boasting 94 strength and 82 acceleration, while also leading the team with 91 pass blocking.
- Ross Pierschbacher- 86 overall
- Brandon Kennedy- 78 overall
- Dallas Warmack- 77 overall
Ross is one of the headiest players on the team with 85 awareness. Warmack, while not that great in the overall department, has 92 strength and 91 impact blocking (which is the rating for pancaking people as a lead blocker in space).
- Bradley Bozeman- 85 overall
- J.C. Hassenauer- 80 overall
- Chris Owens- 79 overall
- Thomas Fletcher- 68 overall
Hassenauer boasts an impressive 83 acceleration.
Thomas Fletcher is actually a long snapper, but the game doesn’t actually have a position for them and usually uses an offensive lineman as a long snapper. Fletcher has 81 speed and 78 tackling, to go along with some decently respectable blocking ratings.
- Lester Cotton- 79 overall
- Josh Casher- 78 overall
Cotton is one of the strongest players on the team with 92 strength.
- Matt Womack- 78 overall
- Alex Leatherwood- 77 overall
- Elliot Baker- 76 overall
Leatherwood, though unrefined as a pass blocker, has 91 strength and 95 run blocking strength.
Elliot Baker is one of the better pass blockers on the team with 88, but is also the slowest player on the entire roster with only a 39 speed.
Left Defensive End
- D’Shawn Hand- 86 overall
- Quinton Williams- 80 overall
- LaBryan Ray- 78 overall
Hand is one of the strongest defensive ends with 86 strength, while Williams leads the group with 87 acceleration.
Right Defensive End
- Isaiah Buggs- 83 overall
- Jamar King- 79 overall
- Raekwon Davis- 77 overall
Buggs is nearly as explosive off the snap as Williams, and as such has 86 acceleration. Davis leads defensive ends with 92 strength, and Jamar King is the fastest defensive lineman, boasing 80 speed.
- Da’Ron Payne- 93 overall
- Josh Frazier- 79 overall
- Johnny Dwight- 75 overall
Da’Ron Payne is one of the freakiest athletes in the entire nation. 74 speed, 80 acceleration and 97 strength make him an absolute monster at 320 pounds. He also has a 90 power move (rushing techniques like bull rushing) and 87 block shedding.
Left Outside Linebacker (JACK)
- Terrell Hall- 83 overall
- Anfernee Jennings- 83 overall
- VanDarius Cowan- 74 overall
Hall is an exceptionally strong linebacker with 89 strength and 90 power move.
Middle Linebacker (MIKE and WILL)
- Shaun Dion Hamilton- 90 overall
- Rashaan Evans- 89 overall
- Mack Wilson- 83 overall
- Keith Holcombe- 79 overall
- Dylan Moses- 79 overall
Hamilton will forever hold a record in my book for his short shuttle performance in the Opening in high school. As such, he has 92 agility. This pairs well with his mental attributes- 91 awareness and 90 play recognition. He also brings 88 tackling to the table.
Evans is exceptionally fast with 86 speed, which complements his 94 pursuit well. Mack Wilson has 81 strength and 93 hit power.
But the big star here is Dylan Moses. He may not be ready to be a starter yet, but his physical attributes are other-worldy. 92 speed is unheard of for a linebacker, and he has 83 strength to boot.
Right Outside Linebacker (SAM)
- Christian Miller- 84 overall
- Ben Davis- 78 overall
- Mekhi Brown- 78 overall
- Chris Allen- 75 overall
Miller astounded everyone with his explosive testing last spring, and it really shows in his game. He leads the linebacking corps with 92 acceleration and 92 jumping
Mekhi Brown was surprisingly the fastest outside linebacker this spring, and as such earned an 85 speed rating.
- Anthony Averett- 90 overall
- Tony Brown- 82 overall
- Trevon Diggs- 78 overall
- Shyheim Carter- 78 overall
- Aaron Robinson- 78 overall
- Jared Mayden- 77 overall
- Nigel Knott- 76 overall
Averett is one of the best cover corners around, and can stick to any receiver with his 96 agility and 94 man coverage, but is also versatile enough with 90 zone coverage.
Tony Brown, like Moses and Payne, is one of the major athletic freaks on the team. He’s the fastest Alabama player with 98 speed, and is more like a homing missile on special teams with 75 strength and 88 hit power. However, he is hampered with a 74 injury rating.
Aaron Robinson is a master as press coverage with 92, and Nigel Knott is still the Opening’s record holder for the vertical jump, so he has 99 jumping.
- Minkah Fitzpatrick- 93 overall
- Xavier McKinney- 79 overall
- Deionte Thompson- 78 overall
Minkah is one of the best and most balanced players in the nation. He has 94 speed, 96 acceleration, 90 awareness, 81 catching, 92 zone coverage, and 93 play recognition. And those are just his very best attributes. Pretty much every thing a defensive back would need is in his repertoire.
- Ronnie Harrison- 87 overall
- Hootie Jones- 80 overall
- Keaton Anderson- 76 overall
Harrison is a powerful player with 82 strength and 92 hit power. He also boasts a 93 jumping rating and 91 play recognition.
Hootie Jones has 90 hit power, and Keaton Anderson quietly had one of the best jumps last spring, and so has 91 jumping.
- Andy Pappanastos- 69 overall
- J.K. Scott- 95 overall
97 kick power and 93 kick accuracy. Best punter in the world.
I’ll admit, I did not come up with all of these ratings in one sitting. I’ve actually been manually updating and editing my roster from NCAA 2012 (the one with Mark Ingram on the cover) for the last 6 years, deleting players that leave the team and creating the new freshmen, then occasionally changing each players attributes during the season, after the spring testing results, after A-Day, and after the first depth chart release of the season.
My college roommate called me crazy and a nerd. Well, maybe I am. But I guess that’s why I’m here writing for you guys. I’ll continue updating my roster until NCAA football finally makes its way back onto the shelves.
Anyway, what are your thoughts? J.K. Scott, Da’Ron Payne, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are my three highest rated players, though Calvin Ridley is right there with them. Were you the one making the roster ratings, what would you change? Did I give some players too much credit? Or am I too harsh on them?
Let your thoughts and criticisms be known in the comments (and also feel free to ask me about any player’s specific attributes if you’re interested).
If you’re really feeling the gump, create your own roster and overall ratings and post it below.