College football will have first female defensive back in '14
Shelby Osborne, a high school football player in Indiana, is set to become college football's first female defensive back when she joins an NAIA school this fall.
A female high school student from Indiana is set to make some college football history this season.
Jeffersonville High's Shelby Osborne signed with Campbellsville (Kentucky), an NAIA school, this week to play football. Osborne, a cornerback, is said to be the first female defensive back to play college football.
The impact of Osborne's decision is just starting to hit her. From the Indianapolis Star:
"At first it was for me. It was something I wanted to do, and I went out and achieved it," Osborne said. "But now I have girls coming to me asking for help. It doesn't just apply to football — just anything they don't see as a possibility because there are certain professions viewed as male professions that they could go into that they might not have thought about."
Lonnie Oldham, Osborne's high school coach, doesn't think she'll have any issue contributing to a college team.
The only question, perhaps, is how she'll adjust to the more physical game, even at the NAIA level.
Osborne admits because of her lack of strength, she isn't primed to make tackles -- she didn't make one at corner last season -- but rather she focuses on simply shutting her side of the field down and not letting opposing receivers to make catches.
Oldham told The Star:
"She can get through the rigor of the running and conditioning part of it," Oldham said. "I don't know how she'll do physically — like taking hits and stuff. But being a defensive back, it's kind of like Deion Sanders. You can choose to hit or not hit. She's got to make business decisions."
And for those wondering why Osborne -- who played soccer, tennis and track during her first three years of high school before getting into football -- would want to pursue the gridiron, here's a snippet of her explaining her commitment to the sport. From The Star:
"I'd wake up for 4 a.m. runs and stay at school until 8 p.m. working with the coaches," she said. "I worked throughout the whole year, fell in love with the game and didn't want to give it up. When the season ended, I was desperate to find anyone who would take me and continue on the thing that captured my heart."