EUGENE, Ore. - Duck fans know De'Anthony Thomas is a rising star in college football.
Now sports fans across the nation do, too.
“You watch the NFL, you watch college, there’s no one like him," Oregon left tackle Kyle Long told Sports Illustrated. "He’s the next generation of position. He’s not a running back or a receiver. He’s a bullet."
A smiling Thomas stands tall above the headline "The Fastest Man in Football" on the cover of the new issue of Sports Illustrated, on newstands now.
The story chronicles how Thomas got a boost as a youth football player when rapper Snoop Dogg saw him run an opening kickoff back from 6 yards deep in the endzone for a touchdown.
As the story goes, Snoop Dogg rushed to the press box, grabbed the mircrophone and yelled, "The Black Mamba!"
A nickname was born - although on Chip Kelly's squad, the "Quack Mamba" has become a new kind of threat: "a touchdown waiting to happen," Sports Illustrated says.
Thomas is the sixth Oregon football player to make the cover following LaMichael James (Nov. 15, 2010), Jeremiah Masoli and Jordan Holmes (Aug. 18, 2009), Jason Fife (Sept. 29, 2003) and Joey Harrington (Aug. 13, 2001).