The love interest of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Kate Upton, could inch out other top models to clinch the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition cover.
The Victoria’s Secret model, recently linked with Sanchez, is considered the top candidate for the cover this year, which will be unveiled Monday on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
Sources told the New York Post that Upton’s blonde, all-American looks made her a top contender even though the magazine crowned Russian lingerie model Irina Shayk, the girlfriend of soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, as its cover star last year.
Michigan-born Upton, 19, who made her SI Swimsuit debut last year, was at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting at New York’s Lincoln Center to mark the kickoff of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but the bombshell played coy about her chances of landing the cover — a guaranteed giant career boost.
"All I can really say is that I’m in the issue," Upton told the Post, adding that she is missing the New York shows because she will be promoting the SI issue. But she added, "Fingers crossed!"
Other cover candidates include swimsuit veteran Chrissy Teigen, the fiancee of R&B crooner John Legend, and blond Russian model Anne V., the Victoria’s Secret model who was dating Adam Levine.
Also in the running: Genevieve Morton, a South African stunner who debuted in the 2010 SI Swimsuit issue, and Alyssa Miller, a California girl who made her SI debut last year.