Basha coach Gerald Todd talks about kicker Becca Longo, who will play college football at NCAA Division II Adams State in Colorado. Video: Richard Obert/azcentral sports
She is the first in Chandler Basha history. She is believed to be the first in Arizona history.
It is not known, but former Basha football coach Gerald Todd introduced Becca Longo during a signing ceremony in school’s gym on Wednesday morning as the first girl in the country to sign a college football letter of intent for a program in NCAA Division I or II.
Longo, 5-foot-11, 140-pound kicker, signed her national letter with Division II Adams State in Alamosa, Colorado.
“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 frequently offers Arizona football players. But Longo is the first girl from Arizona.
Rosenbach said that two kickers were given scholarships.
“It was like recruiting any other athlete,” he said. “In Division II, we can see their workouts. To me, there is no doubt she can be competitive. She has a strong leg and she can be very accurate.”
Longo, inspired to play football by her older brother Bobby, who played football in California, kicked at Queen Creek her sophomore year, before transferring to Basha. She had to sit out the 2015 season because of the transfer rule, and also had to overcome a back injury.
During spring workouts last year, Todd was impressed to see her hit a 42-yard field goal in practice. She won the job.
Todd said he sought advice on how to coach a girl from his older brother, who was an assistant coach at New Mexico in 2003 when Katie Hnida became the first female to score a point in an NCAA Division I-A football game. Hnida started her college career as a walk-on at Colorado, before transferring to New Mexico.
“I asked him, ‘How do you coach a girl player?’ ” Todd said. “He said, ‘What you do is coach the football player.’ That’s what I did.”
Todd said it wouldn’t surprise him to see Longo scorein a game for Adams State.
“It’s going to be stronger kicking, but she’ll get stronger and she’ll compete,” he said. “That’s what she’ll do. She’ll compete. She’ll be fine.”
Jasmine Arollo was believed to be the first girl to kick a field goal in a state football playoff game in 2010 when she did so for Glendale Apollo.
Tempe Marcos de Niza senior kicker Krysten Muir, who made history two seasons ago when she became the first Arizona female player to score a point in a state football championship game, is happy for Longo.
“It’s great she was offered,” Muir said.
Longo also intends to play college basketball for Adams State. She averaged 2.9 points per game and 1.6 rebounds per game as a senior at Basha.
Suggest human interest stories to Richard Obert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-316-8827. Follow him at azc_obert