BUFFS

No 99 Club but two Buffs are rated best at their position in EA game

Jul 10, 2024, 10:33 AM

Travis Hunter #12 and Shedeur Sanders #2 of the Colorado Buffaloes...

Photo by Ryan Kang/Getty Images

Travis Hunter won’t be a member of the extremely exclusive “99 Club” but the two-way Colorado Buffaloes star joins teammate Shedeur Sanders as two of the top-ranked players in the much-anticipated College Football 25.

The EA game returns after a more than decade-long hiatus due to payment of athletes issues which have been cleared up by NIL laws changing. And for CU fans the game’s comeback comes at the perfect time as it’s been a while since two Buffs would be toward the top in overall rankings.

Hunter gets a 95 overall rating which places him as the sixth-best character in the game and puts him just behind Michigan cornerback Will Johnson, LSU left tackle Will Campbell and Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II as the game’s top class of players.

Hunter is the clear-cut top wide receiver while Sanders is tied for the best-rated quarterback in the game.

Among the top 100 rated players that Electronic Arts dropped on Wednesday, Hunter has the best jump rating and the second-best speed.

The wide receiver and defensive back standout helped the Buffs to a 4-8 record in Deion Sanders first year in charge at CU. Hunter missed some of the team’s biggest games thanks to a dirty hit in the Rocky Moutain Showdown. Still, the first two-way star at Colorado had a great year, catching 57 passes for 721 yards and five touchdowns on offense while making 30 tackles and snagging three picks on defense. He ended the season with the most snaps played in FBS despite his three-and-a-half game absence, playing 436 snaps on offense, 566 on defense and 30 on special teams to surpass—an average of 115 plays a game.

Hunter is the first player in at least the last quarter century with 50-plus receptions and three or more interceptions, the only comparable season coming from future Broncos legend Champ Bailey in 1998 at Georgia when he had 47 receptions for 744 yards and five touchdowns and three interceptions.

Hunter’s play in 2023 was truly unprecedented, and he earned first-team All-American honors, the first Buffs player to do so in 13 years. Hunter was named to that team by both the Football Writers Association of America and the Associated Press for his all-purpose play

Hunter will be an early favorite for the 2024 Heisman Trophy, which will be in the cards if his goals are met. And when you’re playing in your dynasty in this year’s game, the Buffs will be a popular choice not only for Hunter but Coach Prime and his son at quarterback Shedeur Sanders too.

Hunter is on the cover of the game, which is a new thing for college kids to get the cover. EA announced that college athletes will get $600 a copy of the game for agreeing to be in the game. For Hunter and Sanders that may be a drop in the bucket but for most kids in college that may cover a month’s rent and be a memory of their football career. Of course, this is the whole debacle that got the game nixed over 10 years ago—when a lawsuit over EA using college players’ likenesses halted the game.

Back in the day, a graduated player would be on the cover to get around the NIL rules. Now with NIL in place for college athletes, players on rosters for this fall can be on the cover.

Hunter is joined on the cover by reigning national champion running back Donovan Edwards from Michigan. The Wolverine rushed for nearly 1,500 yards the past two seasons with 12 touchdowns. Also prominently on the cover is Texas star Quinn Ewers, who will also factor into the Heisman race. The Longhorns quarterback threw for 3,479 yards and 22 touchdowns last fall. Alabama’s Jalen Milroe, Ohio State’s Quinshon Judkins and Georgia’s Carson Beck are also in the background of the cover.

Meanwhile, the top four quarterbacks have Sanders tied for first with Georgia’s Carson Beck at 93 overall. Then there’s Oregon’s Dillon Gabriel and Texas’ Ewers at 92.

Sanders had multiple record-breaking performances, and his last quarter of play in the season saw him break Colorado’s school record for passing yards in a season which is now 3,230 yards. The record was held by Sefo Liufau’s at 3,200. Sanders also finished just shy of Liufau’s mark of most passing touchdowns in a Buffaloes season, set at 28, also in 2014. Sanders had 26 TD tosses in 2023 which is good for second in program history.

Also getting some love was Colorado State’s Troy Horton, who got the nod at No. 45 with a 91 overall as one of the game’s best wideouts.

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No 99 Club but two Buffs are rated best at their position in EA game