• Joe Broback

Who would be in the '99 Club' for EA Sports' College Football '22?

It's official. One of the best video games of all time is returning soon. EA Sports announced today that it would bring back the college football video game series. For details on the release, check out ESPN's writeup here.

There are so many things to discuss about this game. What will the graphics look like? What game modes will be provided? Will the transfer portal be included? The unknown of a game we haven't seen since 2013 gives fans plenty of angst and excitement, and now it seems that we have an end to our wait.

One of the best things about the game is looking at the rating the game gives players and debating whether or not we agree. In EA Sports' Madden franchise, there's even a club called the '99 Club' which includes gifts to the players that achieve that ranking. So today we take a look at who would be in that club if they did it for the college game. It doesn't seem like there are a ton of candidates that are shoe-ins for the honor, but there are many that could play into that ranking. Who would be in your 99 club? Let us know!

RB Breece Hall, Iowa State

It's tough because you can't just give this honor to anyone, and this season feels like it will be tough to find many definite 99's. Hall is no doubt deserving of the honor. He led the country in rushing in 2020 with 1,572 yards and added 21 touchdowns to his resume. His Cyclones would be a fun team to play with given the amount of talent returning to Ames.

G Kenyon Green, Texas A&M

Texas A&M takes a big hit on the offensive line, but their best player returns. Green gives the Aggies flexibility with his ability to move to tackle, and he's been one of the best linemen in the SEC in his two seasons in College Station.

DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

The Ducks end has been a beast in his first two seasons, and was on pace for 17+ tackles for loss in 2020, and will make a run for the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Oregon's not normally known for defense, but Thibodeaux has been instrumental in changing that.

S Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame

At 6'4", Hamilton is a unicorn at his position, and many of his traits would put him in the 99 Club. A long, rangy player who's capable of making plays anywhere on the field, Hamilton gives Notre Dame a leader on the back end of the defense. His versatility gave former defensive coordinator Clark Lea flexibility to put him anywhere on the field to cover any weaknesses in the Fighting Irish defense. With the offense looking for new playmakers, Hamilton and the defense will need to carry the load in 2021.

Others to consider

QB Sam Howell, North Carolina: If Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields didn't just leave college football, Howell's stock would be higher. He could easily reach a 99 this season, and I won't argue if someone puts him on their list.

QB Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma: This one will be a heated debate. Rattler's arm talent would put many of his traits high, but I don't think he'd get a 99 ranking in the preseason.

RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M: Spiller put up career numbers in his second season, and is poised to beat those this year. Still slightly underrated, he could move himself into the 99 Club early this year.

RB Kennedy Brooks, Oklahoma: People forget that Kennedy Brooks was a stud two years ago. Rarely putting the ball on the ground, Oklahoma's lucky to get a guy like him back.

WR Chris Olave, Ohio State: Olave surprised many by returning to school, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him get a 99 rating. He's a good route runner, and will be the focal point of a Buckeyes offense in need of a new quarterback.

OT Evan Neal, Alabama: Neal moved from guard to tackle this year and handled his business. With everyone talking about Landon Dickerson and Deonte Brown, they forgot about the player with the highest ceiling.

DE George Karlaftis, Purdue: Purdue and defense don't normally go together, but Karlaftis is a dude that will demand respect. He only played in two games this year, but he's a future NFL player.

DE Drake Jackson, USC: Jackson is a natural athlete who's still learning his position, but he's a nightmare to scheme against as an offensive coordinator. Todd Orlando loves rushing him one play and dropping into coverage the next, giving the opposing quarterback plenty to consider each play.

LB Christian Harris, Alabama: A former defensive back who's growing as a linebacker, Harris is one of those special players. He's athletic enough to cover wide receivers but also powerful enough to run over an offensive lineman, and I wouldn't be shocked if he was a 99 soon.

CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU: Despite a "regression" in 2020, Stingley was still named first team All-SEC. At one point considered the best cornerback in the country as a freshman, Stingley can still play.

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