Sarah Fuller to dress for Vanderbilt, may be first woman to play college football game at Power Five level

Vanderbilt women’s soccer player Sarah Fuller may take snaps on Saturday when for the Commodores face Missouri. Coach Derek Mason confirmed Wednesday during his SEC teleconference that Fuller, Vanderbilt’s goalkeeper, is “an option” for his team due to the shortage of specialists this week. That’s due to more COVID-19 related quarantines, which have wreaked havoc on Vanderbilt’s depth chart all season.

The program announced on its website late this week that Fuller will indeed dress in uniform and be on the sidelines as part of the travel roster.

“Sarah is part of our women’s soccer SEC championship team. Obviously they just played in the finals on Sunday. For us finding out a couple things about maybe some of our specialists, I reached out to Darren Ambrose — me and Darren are extremely close. Our teams are close, to be honest. Just wanted to see how Sarah would actually work as an option,” Mason said earlier this week. “I had her out, had a chance to look at what she can do with the football. She’s really good with the soccer ball, seems to be really good with the football. We’ll see. She’s an option. we’ll keep all our options open. We’ll see what she can do on Saturday if given the opportunity.”

The university’s student newspaper, the Vanderbilt Hustler, reported Tuesday that Fuller had been¬†practicing with the team.¬†

“I’ve seen her kick in practice. And I saw her off the team kick a couple field goals. I just wanted to see how strong her leg was. I can tell you, she has a strong leg. We’ll see what that yields in terms of distances and where we’re at. I’m not even talking about that now,” Mason said. “It’s day to day to go evaluate where she is. Like I said, Sarah is an option. she seems to be a pretty good option. We’ll see what that looks like on Saturday.”

Vanderbilt is 3 of 7 on field goal attempts this season. The Commodores (0-7) will be looking for their first win of the season.

Should Fuller attempt a kick this weekend, she will be the first woman to play a snap in a Power Five college football game.

She would also be on a short list of women who have played in an FBS game. Former New Mexico kicker Katie Hnida was the first female player to score points in an FBS game when she kicked two extra points for the Lobos in 2003. Kent State kicker April Goss became the second when she kicked an extra point against Delaware State in 2015.

Four other women — Willamette’s Liz Heaton, Jacksonville State’s Ashley Martin, West Alabama’s Tonya Butler and Lebanon Valley’s Brittany Ryan have also kicked in college football games at various levels ranging from NAIA to FCS. Heaton became the first woman to score in a college football game in 1997.

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