Fun and Games Transform Beyond the Playing Field

For a college football player, there is much fame and notoriety to be gained every Saturday between the lines. Through the growing popularity of video games, that recognition has gone beyond those boundaries and has significantly increased. ASU players, much like their counterparts around the nation, are starring in the NCAA 2006 game. The Sun Devil players find themselves playing the game off the field too, and enjoy the surreal experience of playing themselves on the TV screen.

Derek Hagan is already enjoying significant pre-season accolades such as being on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. The NCAA 2006 game seems to agree with the college football experts, as they list the Arizona State senior as the overall top rated receiver in the game and his catching abilities in the video game are second only to conference rival Mike Haas of Oregon State.

"I played the game and I won the Heisman (Trophy)!" exclaimed Hagan. "I went through the whole presentation. I had over 2,000 yards receiving and broke all kinds of records. This game is perfect as long as I win the Heisman and Sam Keller wins the quarterback of year." During our interview, the wide receiver got heckled by linebacker Jamar Williams who doesn't believe that his teammate has much to brag about, to which Hagan replies: "We can set up a tournament here and I will beat everyone!"

Hagan admitted that while in high school all he was dreaming about in football terms, was to play in a Division I school. Now that he has accomplished that, being the top player in his position on one of the most popular sports video games just blows his mind. "When I came here as a freshman and I saw myself on a video game I'm like ‘Oh my God!' Here I am taking out Shaun McDonald out of the game and putting myself in the game as the #1 wide receiver (laughs)."

"Derek Hagan is the best receiver in the game, but I can guard him on the video game," said cornerback R.J. Oliver. "I look good in the game, especially in beginning because I'm one of the captains (laughs). Just walking up there with my arm sleeve..."

Oliver claimed that the thrill of being featured on a video game has started to diminish with each year of play. "The first couple of years you're excited that you're on the video game," he stated. "But after that it's no big deal. It's weird because they list me as a fourth year player, and I'm a sixth-year senior (laughs)."

Jamar Williams loves to play the 2006 game, but has one complaint about it. "They got me as the third fastest linebacker on the team and I think I'm the fastest," he claimed. "They did me wrong a little bit. But overall it's fun to play yourself. I'm just so happy to have the privilege of representing my school on that game." He agreed that the whole experience does humble oneself when you realize how far you have come from being a high school player who was hoping just for a shot at a college scholarship.

Rudy Burgess isn't concerned about his somewhat underrated speed on the game. "I'm a 92 (out of a 100) but that's OK," he said. "I just boost my attributes on my game to bring it up to speed. It's all fun." Much like his teammates he's amazed at the fact that he gets to play himself on a video game, as do many others across the country. "I think it's crazy knowing that I'm playing a video game knowing I'll be on there," he remarked. "My friends call me up and say ‘yeah, we played you on the game.' It's crazy."

For those who are curious how these and other players stack up in the game, here are some numbers to chew on:

Derek Hagan

Speed 94 (out of 100)
Catching- 95
Strength- 52

Jamar Williams

Speed- 78
Strength- 76
Tackle- 84

Top three overall players for ASU are:

Derek Hagan- 94 overall
Zach Miller- 94
Grayling Love- 94

Top three in speed:

Keegan Herring- 95
Derek Hagan - 94
R.J. Oliver- 94

Top three in strength:

Andrew Carnahan- 92
Stephen Berg- 90
Grayling Love- 90

Top three in agility:

Derek Hagan- 94
Terry Richardson- 94
Herring- 92

Top three in acceleration:

Terry Richardson - 97
Derek Hagan 95
Keegan Herring - 95

Top three in catching ability:

Derek Hagan- 95
Terry Richardson- 87
Zach Miller- 87

Top three in jumping ability:

Terry Richardson - 95
Mike Davis Jr.- 94
Keno Walter-White- 90

Top three in tackling

Dale Robinson- 90
Quency Darley- 86
Jamar Williams- 84

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