Toni Harris Is The First Woman Playing A Skill Position To Receive A College Football Scholarship
She’s only the second female non-kicker to make the roster at a four-year college.
Antoinette “Toni” Harris wants to be the first woman to ever play in the NFL. “The sky can never be the limit when there’s footsteps on the moon,” Harris told Overtime about her goal.
And Harris has good reason to believe she can get there — the free safety was just given a full ride to Bethany College, an NAIA school in Kansas, to play football.
Images via Antoinette Harris/YouTube.
Harris is the first woman playing a skill position to receive a college football scholarship and only the second female non-kicker to make it to a four-year college roster. (In 2014, cornerback Shelby Osborne signed with Campbellsville University in Kentucky, but the school doesn’t offer scholarships.)
Harris, originally from Detroit, earned her scholarship for her stellar play at East Los Angeles College this season. “It’s pretty crazy,” Harris told ESPN. “It’s overwhelming but exciting at the same time.”
There’s no reason for Harris to believe she can’t make it to the NFL. She has already overcome tremendous obstacles in her life. Placed in foster care when she was 4, she only 18 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I found out I had ovarian cancer stage one; I had a tumor inside of my stomach,” she told CBS Los Angeles. But she was able to overcome her illness and get right back on the football field.
As a young girl, Harris was cut from multiple (male) teams, but she was finally able to play consistently at her Detroit high school. “A lot of coaches didn’t believe in me,” Harris told ESPN. “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.”
Now, for Harris, the moon’s the limit — but she’ll settle for a spot on the NFL roster.
“My ultimate goal is to excel at a four-year [university] and become the first female NFL player. I know I can get there,” she told ESPN.