Toni Harris is a trailblazer in the world of college football. She is the first woman to receive a full scholarship as a non-specialist, and the second woman to ever play football on scholarship. She is also a cancer survivor, a motivational speaker, and a role model for many young girls who aspire to play the sport.
Harris, who was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1996, fell in love with football at an early age. She started playing flag football when she was six years old, and later joined her high school’s junior varsity team as a wide receiver. However, she faced many challenges and obstacles along the way, such as sexism, racism, and bullying from her peers and coaches. She was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 18, which required surgery and chemotherapy.
Despite these hardships, Harris never gave up on her dream of playing football at the collegiate level. She transferred to a different high school, where she played on the varsity team as a cornerback. She then enrolled at East Los Angeles College, where she played as a free safety for two seasons. During that time, she received six scholarship offers from different schools, including Bethany College, Adams State University, Graceland University, Kentucky Christian University, and Lindenwood University-Belleville.
On February 26, 2019, Harris made history by signing with Central Methodist University (CMU), a Division I school in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). She became the first female skill position player to receive a college football scholarship, and the first African American female to do so. She joined the CMU Eagles as a safety for the 2019 season.
Harris’ story gained national attention when she starred in a Toyota commercial that aired during Super Bowl LIII. The ad featured her journey from Detroit to CMU, and her motto: “Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do.” Harris also appeared on several media outlets, such as The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, ESPN, and People Magazine. She was also invited to attend the 2019 NFL Draft as a guest of the league.
Harris is not only a talented athlete, but also a dedicated student. She graduated from CMU in May 2021 with four degrees: Bachelor of Science in Sports Management, Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Associate of Arts in General Studies, and Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in forensic psychology and eventually work for the FBI.
Harris is also passionate about inspiring others to follow their dreams and overcome adversity. She has spoken at various events and schools, sharing her message of resilience and empowerment. She has also launched her own brand, Toni Made It LLC, which sells merchandise and offers motivational services.
Harris’ ultimate goal is to play in the NFL, and she is determined to make it happen. She has been training hard and preparing for any opportunity that may come her way. She has also received support and encouragement from several NFL players and coaches, such as Deion Sanders, Richard Sherman, Anthony Lynn, and Katie Sowers.
Harris is a pioneer and a leader in the field of women’s football. She has broken barriers and stereotypes, and opened doors for future generations of female players. She has proven that anything is possible with hard work, faith, and perseverance.
Also in the news is Dakota White, a 7-year-old African American girl named Dakota White, hailing from Dallas, Texas, is breaking records as the fastest kid in the nation. Dakota recently established a new national record for the Junior Olympics, making history with her teammates from Xpress Track Club in Fort Worth.
In the girls’ 8 and under 100-meter relay at the AAU Junior Olympics, Dakota and her team set a new record earlier this month, with Dakota finishing her leg in 59.08 seconds, also setting a new national record. Dakota caught national attention last year when her Tiktok videos of her competing in track events went viral.
Her father Cam White, who was a former TCU wide receiver, has been coaching her since she was 3 years old. He mentioned that she had a natural talent for form even at a young age, which led them to engage different trainers as she progressed. Dakota has won all the competitions she participated in since last year, and she never skips a day of training even in the scorching summer heat.
White added that Dakota is careful about staying hydrated and maintaining a balanced diet, as she limits junk food consumption. She is enthusiastic about her accomplishments, including her latest gold medal from the Junior Olympics, and hopes to continue training hard. Click here to continue reading about Dakota White.