It's not every day that high school kickers make the national news for signing a letter-of-intent to play collegiate football. But then again, it's not every day that a woman signs a letter of intent-to-play collegiate football on a scholarship.
Becca Longo became the first woman to earn a college football scholarship to an NCAA school at the Division II level or higher and signed a letter of intent with Adams State University, an NCAA Division II school in Alamosa, Colorado.
A senior at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, Longo converted 30 extra points on 33 attempts this season, and was successful on her lone field goal attempt of the season of 30 yards. That's despite the fact that she only started playing football just two years ago, during her sophomore year. She originally started as a junior varsity kicker at Queen Creek High in Arizona. But, after transferring to Basha High, she was forced to sit out her junior year. So, in essence, she really only has only two years of experience in this endeavor.
But after Longo became convinced that this could be an avenue for which she could pursue her college education, she began to send video highlights to schools, and following collegiate coaches on social media. The latter method, specifically through Twitter, is how she got the attention of Adams State head football coach Tim Rosenbach.
After watching her highlight video, Rosenbach and offensive coordinator Josh Blankenship actually visited her in person, and expressed their interest in potentially having her as part of their football team. They subsequently invited her to visit the campus of Adams State, which Longo professed to fall in love with. Shortly after her visit, she was offered a scholarship.
Rosenbach has stated that the historical aspect of a woman being offered a college football scholarship hadn't crossed his mind. He stated that he simply views her as a football player, specifically one with "great mental toughness." Still, it's hard to believe that the uniqueness of this situation was lost on him. According to ESPN, approximately a dozen women are known to have ever played college football, and none of them did so under athletic scholarship. The last woman to play college football was April Goss, who became the second woman to score in a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game, after kicking an extra point for Kent State University in their game against Delaware State in 2015.
Naturally, there have been some individuals who believe that Longo is being given preferential treatment through this scholarship, especially considering the fact that she only attempted one field goal in her final year. But, her 90%+ conversion rate on extra point attempts is definitely considered to be very good for a high school kicker, and many high school teams tend to be conservative when deciding when to attempt a field goal.
Similarly, when Longo gets to Adams State, nothing will be handed to her. According to Rosenbach, the kicking job is up for grabs heading into the season, and has stated that she's ready to take on the challenge and compete for her spot on the team.
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