Predicting EA College Football 25's top-rated players for each Texas program

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A generation of millennial/Gen Z trust issues evaporated Thursday when EA Sports released the official trailer for College Football 25, mercifully ending an 11-year hiatus in which the franchise's imminent return was a recurring April Fool's joke. This summer, grown men will flock to buy a video game console for the first time in a decade, 20-somethings will finally ditch the wheezing Xbox 360 and flash drive of updated rosters, and elementary schoolers will realize what's been missing from their sleepovers with friends.

Here are my predictions for the highest-rated players from each Texas FBS team who'll carry you to victory and their predicted in-game rating.

Texas Longhorns

QB Quinn Ewers (96)

The Longhorns might be the most fun team in Texas to play as this year. Call Ewers the mailman, because he's the perfect quarterback to deliver to Texas's embarrassment of riches at the skill positions. The most frustrating part for your opponent will be when they call the perfect coverage and Ewers scurries for a first down. He's much more aerodynamic without his mullet, as evidenced by his five rushing touchdowns last year.

Full transparency from my desk on May 16, 2024 - I want to change Ewers's rating to 99 now that I know he's on the cover, but I'm sticking with my February prediction of 96 to hold myelf accountable. 

Texas A&M Aggies

LB Taurean York (93)

York is the best kind of linebacker to play as - he's a menace in the run game (74 tackles) who can also terrorize an offense blitzing (8.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks). There's going to be few running lanes to choose from when you play as Texas A&M's defense. They also added Big Ten sack leader Nic Scourton to the depth chart.

Texas Tech Red Raiders

RB Tahj Brooks (95)

Power-O, HB Dive and Inside Split Zone with Tahj Brooks will be an automatic four yards. Every time. Brooks was the only Power Five player in 2023 with 70 or more forced missed tackles. Flick the right stick up to truck stick your opponent into oblivion. Three plays into the first drive they'll realize they're going to have about two offensive drives total to beat you. 

TCU Horned Frogs

LB Nnamdi Obiazor (90)

Obiazor will be the player you user control the entire game on defense. He can blitz off the edge, chase down a mobile quarterback and stick his nose in the run game. Then, when your opponent decides to pass, Obiazor will lead the league in forced disgusted-controller-throws when he closes the gap on a running back or tight end for an interception.

Baylor Bears

CB Caden Jenkins (87)

Jenkins might start as a high-80s player, but I predict when EA updates the rankings throughout the season he could finish in the 90s. The Second-Team Freshman All-American will shut down one side of the field for your defense. When your opponent if foolish enough to throw at him, Jenkins will give you the ball back (3 interceptions in 2023).

SMU Mustangs

TE RJ Maryland (93)

The 6-foot-4, 233-pound Maryland is a matchup nightmare. He's too athletic for linebackers to cover and can highpoint the ball over most nickelbacks assigned to him. Word to the wise - establish SMU's run game early, then hit Maryland on the play action.

Houston Cougars

S AJ Haulcy (86)

You have to be a confident gamer to user control the safety, but AJ Haulcy delivers the hits that will make your friends watching crack up. Haulcy led the Cougars from the back end with 98 tackles last fall. Pro tip: If you're down late in the game, switch the defensive toggles to aggressive strip ball mode and hit stick a poor wide receiver with Haulcy. 

From my desk on May 16, 2024 - wide receiver Sam Brown was the original selection when this was first published in February, but he has since transferred

UTSA Roadrunners

LB Donyai Taylor (87)

Top to bottom, UTSA has the most consistent and experienced linebacking corps on this list. Taylor gets the nod here for his athletic traits, just watch his 78-yard interception against North Texas. Taylor is a slighter linebacker (205 pounds), but plays big in the run game, too.

North Texas Mean Green

OG Gabe Blair (82)

You're not going to user Blair unless you're playing 2v2 or on the same team against the CPU (and if you are, you relish chaos), but you're going to rely on him to get Eric Morris's offense up and running. Blair was a 2021 All-Conference USA Freshman team member and has made the all-conference team in back-to-back seasons. 

Rice Owls

LB Josh Pearcy (81)

Pearcy is a linebacker today, but he may be the next WWE superstar tomorrow. So when you make a tackle with him, make sure to flash a finisher move on your opponent.The 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker can force the offense into submission by blitzing off the edge or plugging gaps in the run game. 

UTEP Miners

DE Maurice Westmoreland (80)

If you like playing along the defensive line and getting after the quarterback, Westmoreland is your man. He led UTEP in 2023 with 7.5 sacks and also tallied 10.5 tackles for loss. UTEP's player rankings are going to be lower because most are new to the program, but Westmoreland is a steady presence.

Sam Houston Bearkats

WR Noah Smith (80)

Sam Houston gets the ball in Smith's hands by any means necessary, and you should as well. He led the Bearkats in 2023 with 782 receiving yards and six touchdowns, ran for 102 yards and even threw four passes. Whether it be a punt return, WR Jet Sweep or just a standard post route, Smith can give the defense fits. 

Texas State Bobcats

RB Ismail Mahdi (86)

Mahdi might be the fastest player on this list, so get him on the edges (whether that be HB toss or HB slip screen) and watch defenders eat dust. Mahdi averaged a whopping 6 yards per carry en route to 1,331 rushing yards, and was fourth on the team with 275 receiving yards.

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