Meet College Football’s First Ever Female Defensive Back

Cornerback Shelby Osborne has signed a letter of intent with Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

1. Shelby Osborne, a student at Jeffersonville High School in Indiana, was watching her school’s team play a particularly frustrating game of football when she found herself shouting, “I could play better than that!” So she did.

2. Shelby told ESPN she’s been athletic her whole life, but bounced from sport to sport before committing to football. She played in high school as a cornerback.

ShelbyLynn Osborne / Via

3. She says her high school teammates were unconvinced at first, serving her particularly hard hits, but by the end of the season she couldn’t imagine life without her teammates. Convincing college coaches, however, proved more difficult.

ShelbyLynn Osborne

4. Osborne says she emailed every team, and ended up going to an open recruiting session at Campbellsville University. She found a believer in coach Perry Thomas, and signed a letter of intent on June 3rd.

5. Lonnie Oldham, her high school coach, told USA Today she will have to be strategic as a cornerback.

ShelbyLynn Osborne / Via

“She can get through the rigor of the running and conditioning part of it,” said Oldham. “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.”

6. Osborne is the first woman to play defensive back in college football history. Most other women who’ve played were kickers.

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