College football has had a few women play kicker over the years, but Becca Longo might be the first one to sign a National Letter of Intent and arrive on scholarship.
Longo signed an LOI with Division II Adams State, in Colorado, on Wednesday. She’ll be a kicker on the football team and also play basketball there.
AZCentral reported Longo’s coach introduced her at her signing ceremony “as the first girl in the country to sign a college football letter of intent for a program in NCAA Division I or II.” That indicates the LOI is for football, not hoops.
It’s been more than a decade since the last one, but there have been several female kickers to come through the college game. It’s difficult to say anything with certainty about students’ financial-aid packages over the years, but I don’t think anybody else has signed an LOI, as Longo’s coach indicated. The women who have kicked for college teams in the past have been walk-ons.
Liz Heaston made a few extra points for NAIA school Willamette in 1997 and is believed to be the first woman to ever score a point in a college game.
Jacksonville State’s Ashley Martin made three extra points in 2001, when she was the first woman in Division I ball. Tonya Butler kicked for West Alabama in 2003 and 2004 and made 13 of 19 field goals. Katie Hnida is the only woman to ever score in a Division I-A game (or FBS) game, having done so with New Mexico in 2003. Mo Isom worked out with LSU a couple of years ago but didn’t ultimately make the team.
Here are Longo and her future coach, again via AZCentral:
"I contacted them during the season, and after the season I got contacted back by them," said Longo, who made 30 of 33 point-after tries and connected on a 30-yard field goal her senior season. "The offensive coordinator (Josh Blankenship), he told me he wanted me to come out for a visit.
"I went on my visit and I absolutely fell in love."
Adams State is led by former Cardinals quarterback Timm Rosenbach, who is the head coach.
"I never heard of it before," Rosenbach said about Longo being the first female in college football history awarded an NCAA football scholarship out of high school. "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."
Adams State went 2-8 last season and was 5 of 8 on field goals as a team. The Grizzlies play in D-II’s Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.