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NCAA Football 09 cover artwork unveiled...well, one of the covers, anyway

2:58 PM on 03.06.2008 // Samit Sarkar

A good amount of sports fans prefer college football to pro football. Here’s why: college football is, well, less professional than the NFL. This often lends itself to a more exciting game. You’ll see many more trick plays and lead changes, but that’s also due to the lower skill level — d-backs blow coverages, linebackers miss tackles, and overall, things are just more crazy. In the spirit of spicing things up on the college end, EA is featuring four different athletes on the covers of the varying platform versions of their upcoming college football videogame, NCAA Football 09.

The 360 version’s cover was the first to be made public. The lucky college football star is Darren McFadden, former tailback for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. (Aside: Colleges also have one other thing over the NFL...awesome mascots.) A two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up and All-American, McFadden left college after the 2007 season (his junior year) and has entered the 2008 NFL Draft. I tell ya, these kids are going to have nothing to fall back on if football doesn’t pan out...

The official press release from EA (después del salto) also mentions the future unveiling of the Break Away Animation Engine, which will make on-field movements much more fluid and responsive by allowing gamers to “break” in and out of animations. As for the rest of the covers, here’s the schedule. Next up will be the Wii version’s artwork, which EA will reveal on March 18th; the PS3 cover won’t be shown until April 24th. The PS2 and PSP versions will share the same cover, which won’t see the light of day until early May. Check out McFadden on the 360 box below. Any guesses for the other three coverboys?

[via The Man Room — thanks, Jonathan!]

EA Selects Darren McFadden as the First of Four Cover Athletes for NCAA FOOTBALL 09

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - March 6, 2008 - Electronic Arts Inc., (NASDAQ: ERTS) today announced that former University of Arkansas running back and two time All-American recipient, Darren McFadden, will appear on the front cover of NCAA® Football 09 for the Xbox 360™ video game entertainment system, scheduled for release on July 15, 2008. This year, the packaging for each of the NCAA Football 09 console platforms will feature an exclusive cover athlete. Following McFadden on the Xbox 360 package front will be three other cover athletes from different regions throughout the county to appear on the box art for NCAA Football 09 on the PlayStation® 2 and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment systems, and the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system.

During McFadden's three year career at the University of Arkansas, the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up earned three First Team All-SEC selections, was named the SEC coaches and Associated Press "Offensive Player of the Year", received the 2007 Walter Camp Award, and was the first Sophomore to receive the Doak Walker Award for the best college Running Back two years in row. McFadden holds multiple University of Arkansas records, the most notable being the Razorback's all-time leading rusher with 4,485 yards in only 37 career games.

NCAA Football 09 will unveil the all-new Break Away Animation Engine which allows gamers to break in and out of moves giving the user more direct control as well as instant influence and responsiveness on the field . At its core, NCAA Football 09 will focus on wide-open collegiate style gameplay featuring unique animations that you will only find on college football Saturdays. This style of gameplay will allow agile backs like McFadden to show off their break out speed and maneuverability in-game.

"These four athletes represent the best and brightest of college football, but our selections aren't just about Heisman candidates and All Americans," says Sr. director of marketing Tom Goedde. "They represent the spirit and passion of the sport in the same way EA SPORTS video games do."

In anticipation for the NFL Draft, EA will announce the exclusive cover athlete for the PLAYSTATION 3 system on April 24, while the exclusive cover athletes for the PlayStation 2 and the PSP systems will be unveiled the beginning of May. The Wii™ cover will feature the winner from the NCAA Football 09 Cover Mascot Challenge, and will be announced on the NCAA Football 09 website on March 18.

Developed in Orlando, Fla., by EA Tiburon, NCAA Football 09 will be available for the PlayStation 2 and PLAYSTATION 3 systems, the PSP system, the Wii and the Xbox 360 system. For more information about NCAA Football 09 please visit

EA SPORTS™ is the leading interactive sports software brand in the world, with top-selling titles and franchises including Madden NFL football, FIFA Soccer, NHL®, NBA LIVE, NCAA® football, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® and NASCAR® racing.

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