Antoinette “Toni” Harris has become the first female football player in a skill position to sign a letter of intent, accepting a scholarship to Central Methodist University in Missouri, ESPN reports.
The 5-foot-seven-inch, 164-pound safety, who has been playing at East Los Angeles College in California for the past two seasons, was also offered a football scholarship to attend Bethany College in West Virginia.
The Detroit native fell in love with the contact sport at 6 years old, going on to play wide receiver and cornerback in high school, Harris wound up at East Los Angeles College because most institutions wouldn’t allow her to hit the field.
“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.”
Although the NFL is her ultimate goal, she’s content with allowing God to order her steps.
“The NFL is the dream,” Harris said in an ESPN 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.”
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.