Becca Longo: Female Kicker Making College Football History
Sugar and spice, and everything nice isn’t exactly what this little girl is made of. In fact, it’s more along the lines of sweat and accuracy, and gridiron dreams.
Becca Longo, a 5-foot-11, 140-pound kicker from Basha High School, recently signed a National Letter of Intent with Adams State University, becoming the first female in the country to sign an LOI for a college football program in the NCAA Division I or II.
Pigskin Wishes and Uprights Dream
Growing up, Longo watched her older brother, Bobby, play football for King High School in Riverside, California, where one of his teammates was a female kicker by the name of Heidi Garrett.
Garrett ended up setting a national high school record in 2004 – longest field goal ever made by a female. A young Becca Longo watched that very same football soar through the air for 48 yards, kicking off her aspirations to play football.
Becca Longo: Female Kicker Making College Football History
Longo first kicked as a sophomore for the Queen Creek boys’ team before transferring to Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona. After sitting out a year due to the transfer rule, as well as overcoming a back injury, Longo kicked her way into making a name for herself. During her 2016 senior year, she connected on 35 of 38 extra point attempts in addition to a 30-yard field goal. She then sent out a highlight reel to several colleges, including Adams State, who sent one of their assistant coaches to Arizona to check out the kicker.
Becca Longo’s hudl highlights
Making History and Taking Names
Longo said the decision was easy, and subsequently accepted a scholarship to play for the Grizzlies in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, making her the first female in college football history to be awarded an NCAA football scholarship out of high school. Former NFL quarterback, Timm Rosenbach is the current head coach at Adams State and described the decision to offer Longo, “I see her as a football player who earned it.”
In addition to football, Longo will also play basketball on the women’s team at Adams State. During her senior year, she averaged 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds per game at Basha High.
Last Word on College Football recently got the chance to interview the history-making athlete about her transition from high school to college ball.
Lauren Beasley, LWOCFB: Of course, inquiring minds want to know the obvious! HOW DOES IT FEEL? I mean, to have such a history-making opportunity to be the first female in the country to sign a college football LOI for a program in NCAA Division I or II, what has been going through your mind in the past 24 hours?
Becca Longo: Everything has been pretty crazy lately. At the time, it didn’t really faze me. It didn’t really hit me until a few hours later. I was definitely shocked. Anyone who was at the ceremony or saw the video, they can tell you that my jaw dropped.
LB: When you were younger, you looked up to one of your brother’s teammates, Heidi Garrett. How much of an influence was she in your decision to play football?
Longo: Heidi had a lot of influence on me. Had I never watched her play or saw her out there, I don’t know that I would have even thought that girls could play football.
LB: When you decided that you wanted to play football, I am sure that as a female, you encountered some static. How do you handle people that believe football is solely a man’s sport?
Longo: There is a lot of negativity, that’s for sure. But the good always outweighs the bad. There are so many more positive people than negative. I always have a smile on my face, and that is how I get through it, just smile and brush it off. It also motivates me to do better.
LB: What made you decide to contact Adams State?
Longo: I really like the RMAC division. I knew I wanted to go out of state, and the schools in that division are close to home but still far enough away.
LB: Did you consider or contact any other schools?
Longo: I did contact other schools in the RMAC. I received other replies and even went on a few other visits, but nothing compared to the feeling I got when I was at Adams State. Everyone was so warm and welcoming and it just felt like home.
LB: High school football is much different than college football. Are you intimidated in any way by your new teammates, the larger crowd, the scrutiny from the fans?
Longo: College is different from high school, and yes, the guys are bigger, faster, and stronger. But so are my guys, and I know that they will have my back. The stands will be packed and there will be a lot of pressure, but I thrive in that kind of environment. I love pressure.
LB: As a member of the media, I have often heard reporters (not myself, of course. haha!) ask some pretty sexist comments to female athletes, such as Serena Williams and Gabrielle Douglas. It is hard enough being a woman in the sports world, but being a woman playing football, I can imagine that it may be even more intense. How would you handle situations or questions like that?
Longo: Fortunately, I haven’t had any reporters or media ask me such questions, but I’m pretty sure that I would just try to change the subject. On the field is a different story though. Often I get asked for my number and I just look down and point to my jersey.
LB: I see that you will be playing football as well as basketball. I certainly applaud you for that, and wish you the best in both sports. But what is it specifically about football that you love so much?
Longo: I love football because it is different than anything I’ve done before. The people you meet and the bonds you make with all of them don’t compare to anything. It is so competitive as well, and everyone seems to be on the same page and want the same goal – to win.
LB: Last, but certainly not least. Aside from your new team, are there any other college football teams that you root for?
Longo: I don’t have a favorite team. I usually just root for the teams that all my friends are on, which is a bunch of different ones.
For any future updates on Becca Longo, you can find her on the 2017 Grizzlies football roster here or follow her on twitter @BeccaLongo. Stay updated with all Adams State University athletics, visit www.asugrizzlies.com.