Harris becomes 1st female non-kicker to sign LOI

Toni Harris made history Tuesday, becoming the first female football player at a skill position to sign a letter of intent, accepting a scholarship to Central Methodist University in Missouri.

Harris first made news when she was offered a scholarship in January 2018 to play football at Bethany College, an NAIA school in Kansas.

The 5-foot-7, 164-pound safety from Detroit had been playing football at East Los Angeles College in California for the past two seasons and will now further her college career at Central Methodist.

Becca Longo, a kicker from Arizona, was the first woman to sign a national letter of intent at the Division II level or higher, signing with Adams State in Colorado last April.

Shelby Osborne signed with Campbellsville University in Kentucky in 2014, but she was not initially on scholarship. The defensive back later received a partial scholarship while enrolled at the school.

Harris began playing football at age 6 in Detroit, and she eventually played wide receiver and cornerback at Redford Union High School in Michigan. She missed the 2017 season at East Los Angeles College, but had three tackles and one tackle for loss in 2018.

Featured in a Toyota commercial that aired during the Super Bowl, Harris has had a spotlight on her journey since she received her first offer from Bethany College.

She had a difficult time finding a junior college that would let her play football, which is how she wound up at East Los Angeles College, where she was given an opportunity.

"A lot of coaches didn't believe in me," Harris told ESPN in January. "A coach told me, 'Nobody's ever going to play you to be at the next level.' In the end, you've got to push yourself. I'm going to focus on my goals."

Her ultimate goal is to play in the NFL, but for now she is content with the opportunity ahead of her at Central Methodist.

"The NFL is the dream," Harris said in an espnW Q&A. "I'm going to be working toward that until the death of me. Whether I go drafted or undrafted, I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep my faith and God is going to take me there."

Related Content