Female kicker makes college football history with scholarship

Becca Longo isn't the first woman to play football.

But the senior at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, made history when she signed a letter of intent to play football at Adams State University, an NCAA Division II school in Alamosa, Colorado.

It's believed that Longo, 18, is the first female to earn a football scholarship to an NCAA school at the Division II level or higher -- something she had no idea of until a signing ceremony Wednesday at her high school.

"I was completely shocked," Longo told CNN. "Everybody who has it on video said my jaw dropped to the floor."
Longo started playing football competitively her sophomore year. Knowing she wanted to kick in college, Longo sent video highlights to schools, including Adams State. She also began following Adams State head football coach Timm Rosenbach on Twitter, which got his attention.

"She's kind of put herself out there to let everyone know she wants to do this," Rosenbach said. "If she's able to compete at a level we think she's able to compete at, we should afford her that opportunity to do that."
So he watched her film. Offensive coordinator Josh Blankenship then visited her in Arizona and expressed interest. Longo stopped by the university in February, "and I just fell in love with the campus," Longo said. And in Division II, Rosenbach said, prospective student athletes can work out on campus.

"I kind of put the ball in her court," the coach said. "She took advantage of that, and I was impressed, not only as an athlete but as a person."

Shortly after that visit, she was offered a scholarship.

"I was so emotional. I was just so grateful that somebody believed in me and that I could actually do it," said Longo, who will also play basketball at Adams State.

According to ESPN, about a dozen women are known to have played college football, though none under athletic scholarship. But Rosenbach said he wasn't thinking about the historical aspect when he offered her a scholarship. It was her accuracy.

"It's hard to find good kickers," he said.

He added: "She's got great mental toughness. She has to, if she's put herself in this position. By having that mental toughness, she deserves an opportunity right there to compete."

This past season, Longo connected on 30 extra points on 33 attempts and made her lone field goal attempt, according to MaxPreps.

According to Rosenbach, the kicking job is up for grabs heading into the season. And Longo sounds ready for that challenge.

"I'm going to go in, I'm going to be ready to compete," Longo said. "I'm not one to back down to anybody."

Becca Longo, a high school senior in Arizona, began playing football competitively as a sophomore.

Arizona high school kicker, 18, becomes the FIRST female player to receive an NCAA football scholarship

An Arizona high school student has made history by becoming the first woman to ever receive an NCAA football scholarship.

Becca Longo, who is a kicker for the Chandler Basha High School football team, signed her letter of intent to play college football with Division II Adams State University in Colorado last month.

However, she was quite surprised when her football coach, Gerald Todd, said that she was the first woman ever to receive a scholarship at the Division II level or higher, according to ESPN.

Longo told the sports news site that she had no idea she was the first woman to receive this distinction and that she's 'still in shock from it'. 'I'm just amazed,' she added.

The 18-year-old will also play basketball at the university, where former Cardinals quarterback Timm Rosenbach serves as the head coach.

'To me, there is no doubt she can be competitive. She has a strong leg, and she can be very accurate,' Rosenbach told the Arizona Republic.

Longo told ESPN that she has had a fascination with kicking for years, despite suffering a back injury that led doctors to believe she would never play sports again.

In 2014, she was the junior varsity kicker at Queen Creek High in Arizona but was forced to sit out her junior year after transferring to Basha High.

Last year, she won a starting job on field goals and extra points.

Longo converted 35 of 38 extra-point attempts last season and was good on her lone field goal attempt of 30 yards, according to ESPN.

During the season, Longo reached out to Adams State, but didn't hear back until it was over.

An assistant coach eventually came to the school and invited Longo to visit the university.

She kicked in front of the coaching staff, which earned her an offer.

'It was like recruiting any other athlete,' Rosenbach told the Arizona Republic.

Longo told ESPN that she is aware of the competition at Adams State.

The university recently signed kicker Tiago Paim and they have a returning sophomore Eduardo Majalca on their roster.

'I'm ready to compete,' Longo said. 'I don't really have any expectations beyond that.'

There have been at least a dozen women who have played college football, but none of them had ever received an NCAA scholarship.

Becca Longo set to make history with Div. II scholarship

Becca Longo has made history.

Longo became the first woman to ever sign a letter of intent to play college football at the Division II level (or higher), ESPN and The Arizona Republic reported. Though many women have played collegiate football, none had received a scholarship.

The kicker signed with Adams State in Colorado a few weeks ago.

"I contacted them during the season, and after the season I got contacted back by them," Longo said per The Arizona Republic. "The offensive coordinator (Josh Blankenship), he told me he wanted me to come out for a visit."

In her senior campaign, Longo made 30 of 33 point-after tries and connected on a 30-yard field goal.

Adams State head coach and former Cardinals quarterback Timm Rosenbach said the history-making signing didn't phase him.

"I never heard of it before," Rosenbach said about Longo being the first female in college football history awarded an NCAA football scholarship. "I don't look at it that way. My wife is a former pro athlete. I see her as a football player who earned it."

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