INDIANAPOLIS - Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas has made a name for himself on Twitter, @RUNDAT2014. He doesn't hold anything back and tweets in all capital letters, ending every tweet with #RUNDAT.
In person, Thomas is much quieter. He sits hunched over in his chair at a table tucked away at the side of the media room in Lucas Oil Stadium at the NFL Scouting Combine. Thomas is just as funny and outgoing, though. It just takes a little loosening up.
Ask him about his relationship with Desean Jackson and he cracks a smile. Ask him about his nickname and he leans back in his chair a bit. Before long, he's taking shots at Lakers star Kobe Bryant for stealing his nickname, Black Mamba.
Out of respect to Thomas' digital persona, his answers are in all capital letters
"I FEEL LIKE EVERYONE KNOWS THAT I WAS WAY BEFORE KOBE BRYANT," Thomas said. "HE WAS JUST IN THE SPOTLIGHT MORE THAN ME. IT WAS MY CHILDHOOD DAYS. IT'S GREAT TO LOOK UP TO HIM. HOPEFULLY ONE DAY WE CAN DO A COMMERCIAL ABOUT IT OR SOMETHING."
Thomas actually plans to find his way to your television screen in ways other than playing football. Even though he grew up playing in Snoop Dog's youth football league, Thomas doesn't have musical aspirations.
"INSTEAD OF A RAPPER I WANT TO BE AN ACTOR" Thomas said. "PLAY IN MORE MOVIES AND STUFF LIKE THAT."
Yes, the Black Mamba wants to be in movies. He also wants to play some receiver, running back and special teams in the NFL. Simply put, Thomas wants a team to line him up to make plays so he can show he's more than just a track star.
When Thomas was younger, that's what his grandfather trained him in at a young age. His grandfather, who was a triple jumper, was Thomas' caretaker during his childhood. The Black Mamba football persona wasn't established until Thomas played against Snoop Dogg's team in youth football and helped his team win, 52-0.
"I FEEL LIKE THE BLACK MAMBA CAME WITH ME MY FRESHMAN YEAR," Thomas said. "SO I FEEL LIKE I ESTABLISHED A NAME FOR MYSELF AS RUN DAT AND DAT MAN."
Keeping up with Thomas' nicknames is almost as tough as keeping up with him on the football field. He's a unique prospect in the sense that he doesn't have a defined position. Oregon used Thomas at running back and wide receiver with varying degrees of success. The one constant with Thomas was that he was at his best in the open field.
"I JUST FEEL LIKE IT'S GREAT TO BE IN SPACE," Thomas said.
Thomas and the rest of the running backs run their drills on Sunday. He's expected to have one of the best 40-yard dash times, but wouldn't give too much away about what he expects as a time.
"I FEEL LIKE I'M GOING TO RUN PRETTY FAST," Thomas said. "I'M FAST BUT I'M ALSO A FOOTBALL PLAYER."
As for his social media presence, don't expect that to change. In fact, it may get even goofier now that he doesn't have Oregon's media coaching to worry about.
"I USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO JUST BRAND MYSELF," Thomas said. "JUST KEEPING EVERYTHING POSITIVE. JUST KNOWING LITTLE KIDS ARE WATCHING SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU WANT TO BE A ROLE MODEL AND ALSO JUST SHOW LEADERSHIP."