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‘They gotta have my drip right’: WSU players chime in on their places in NCAA Football 25

Washington State Cougars running back Wayshawn Parker (21) smiles after WSU’s Crimson and Gray spring football game on Saturday, Apr. 27, 2024, at Gesa Field in Pullman, Wash.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Kris Hutson squinted in the sunlight and looked directly at the camera, his Washington State teammates wrapping up spring practice on the field adjacent, and delivered one message.

“I need me at a good 90,” he said with a smile. “Y’all got me? I need me at a 90, NCAA.”

Hutson, a wide receiver who transferred from Oregon in time for spring ball, was talking about his rating on the new NCAA Football 25 video game, which is set to snap the series’ 11-year drought with a new release this summer. Players across the country had the choice of opting into the game, which came with a $600 incentive and a free copy of the game, and nearly all have obliged.

The Cougars asked about the topic this spring could hardly have been more happy to join. They didn’t expect the opportunity, not with the game going into hibernation for more than a decade. Some were in high school when news of the game’s release surfaced.

One thing worked as a common denominator, though: They’re in the game, and they’re stoked.

“They gotta have my drip (style) right. That’s No. 1,” Hutson said. “Obviously, the overall (rating), I’m curious what that’s gonna be.”

“I’m more so looking forward to making me a 99 overall,” rising sophomore cornerback Adrian Wilson said. “Make sure I’m dripped out. I just thought it was great. I’m gonna be in the game.”

All 134 FBS programs will be in the game, which means that while WSU is playing a 2024 schedule heavy on Mountain West opponents in the wake of the Pac-12’s collapse, the Cougs will have a full spot in the game. That includes Gesa Field – which still went by Martin Stadium at the time of the 2014 game, and which didn’t include the Cougar Football Complex in the last game because it wasn’t completely built at the time.

A rendering of Gesa Field, then Martin Stadium, in NCAA 14.  (PS2SPORTSINFOSTATION/YouTube)
A rendering of Gesa Field, then Martin Stadium, in NCAA 14. (PS2SPORTSINFOSTATION/YouTube)

Fans can likely expect a current version of Gesa Field in the new video game, which will cost around $70 in stores. Players get a free copy if they opt in, another reason they’re fired up to get on the sticks.

It was made possible by a court ruling that allowed student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL), which has taken college athletics by storm. It means players’ identities will be in the new game – no editing them manually like in years past.

“I’ll tell you what – I don’t know what my overall is gonna be, but just to be in a game in general, that’s life changing,” junior edge rusher Raam Stevenson said. “I’m just very grateful.”

“It’s pretty cool to think that I was playing those,” sophomore offensive lineman Noah Dunham said, “and I was watching my older siblings and cousins play that game, and now it’s like, I’m gonna be in it. It doesn’t really make sense.”

As for Dunham’s rating hopes?

“Well, shoot, I haven’t touched the field yet,” Dunham said. “Ninety-nine is what I want, but realistically, if they get me in the high 70s, I’d be happy. I’m not gonna complain about anything.”

There may be no telling until the game is released, but it’s possible to predict the highest-rated Cougs. Near the top might be rising senior wideout Kyle Williams, WSU’s top returner at the position; left guard Christian Hilborn, a staple at the position the last couple of years; quarterback John Mateer, who appears to be in line for the starting job next fall; or maybe rising senior edge Nusi Malani, who moved over from the interior defensive line toward the end of last season.

WSU is experiencing a healthy dose of roster turnover, though, which is what makes projecting the top Cougs tricky.

A rendering of Gesa Field, then Martin Stadium, in NCAA 14.  (PS2SPORTSINFOSTATION/YouTube)
A rendering of Gesa Field, then Martin Stadium, in NCAA 14. (PS2SPORTSINFOSTATION/YouTube)

“I think (I’m looking forward to) turning on the TV, and then it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in a video game,’ ” rising sophomore defensive lineman Ansel Din-Mbuh said. “There’s just kids all over the world playing with me on the game, possibly. So that’s kind of cool thinking about. I feel pretty honored to have the opportunity.”

“As soon as I got the email, I was like, ‘Should I? Oh wait, yes,’ ” freshman running back Wayshawn Parker said. “Right now I know I’m gonna start on the low levels, but I’m gonna get higher each year, for sure.”