Some of Alabama & Georgia’s biggest stars already have football cards thanks to prep bowl games

The college football world got a pair of classic showdowns on Monday night and will get a third next week when the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs face off for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

There were some dominating performances for these two squads in the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl and the good news for collectors who might not know is that a number of those stars now set to chase gridiron history already appear on fully licensed football cards thanks to card companies’ deals with prep spotlight games such as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armour All-America Game.

In the case of the Bulldogs and their game-winning star Sony Michel — as well as his fellow bruiser RB Nick Chubb and QB Jake Fromm — they can all be found on Army cards from Leaf Trading Cards. Michel’s first of more than 40 cards was made back in 2011 and nearly all of the are autographed. Chubb has around 30 cards from 2014 and beyond, while Fromm has more than both of them with nearly 50 signed. His are all from this year’s set — and this trio is likely not alone for Bulldog cameos as there have been plenty of cards made for the event in past years (some wax is still findable — there’s even a Vault release on the way).

The Crimson Tide guys? There’s a lot more mystery there …

The biggest star for the Crimson Tide on Monday night was 300-pounder Da’Ron Payne who picked off a pass in the third quarter of the Sugar Bowl and then caught a touchdown pass on the same drive to help the team to its sixth title-game appearance in the last nine years. His only cards are in the 2015 Topps Under Armour All-America Game set, which was made for fans in attendance for that event and then with “certified” autos that were signed for Topps at the event, and then on a smaller volume of cards given to players but marked just as the certifieds. In the past, these autos were to be later found in packs when players turned pro and were under contract with Topps, but with the company not presently having an NFL card license that leaves those cards in limbo.

The base cards are believed to be as rare as 50 copies per player, maybe less, and they’re not exactly easy finds (hence the eBay watermark above) given the roster sizes and distribution for fans in attendance, while the player-auto versions also can be found unsigned for some players on eBay right now. Among the Alabama guys of note here — and it’s not all of them in the set — are Payne, DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and WR Calvin Ridley.

The College Football Playoff National Championship is set for Monday night at 8:30 in Atlanta.

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