by Rob Moseley
The Oregon football team is once again featured prominently on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with quarterback Marcus Mariota appearing on one of six regional covers for the magazine's college football preview issue this week.
The image used features Mariota running for yardage during the Ducks' victory at USC last season.
"It's pretty exciting," Mariota said Wednesday morning. "That's something, when you're a little kid, you say, 'That would be cool, to be on the cover.'"
Mariota found out about the appearance in a text message from his mother, which he read during a break between this morning's practice and lunch.
"I'm sure my mom will find a way to get a whole bunch of them," he said.
Mariota is the first UO football player featured on the cover since De'Anthony Thomas was the focus of the magazine's issue on speed in various sports last fall. LaMichael James was on the cover twice during the 2010 season, and the Ducks' most recent regional college football preview cover was in 2009, featuring quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and center Jordan Holmes.
An SI cover appearance will of course raise the specter of the "cover jinx." Not to worry, said Mariota; he doesn't believe in the mythical curse.
"I don't, I don't," Mariota said with a laugh. "So I'm not too worried about it."