Toni Harris: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Twitter/Toni Harris Toni Harris pictured prior to an interview on "Good Morning America."

Toni “Antoinette” Harris wants to be the first ever female NFL player. Harris was featured in the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid commercial during Super Bowl 53. Harris, 22, is the first non-kicker to play collegiate football, she plays free safety. Harris attended East Los Angeles College on an athletic scholarship. Harris stands at 5-foot-6 and weighs 160 pounds.

The commercial shows Harris working out, which includes her flipping a tire. Harris, a native of Detroit, says in the commercial, “They said she was too small, they said she was too slow, too weak. They said she’d never get to the next level, never inspire a new generation, never get a football scholarship.” The ad is voiced by legendary CBS announcer Jim Nantz.

Speaking about the ad, Harris told Black Enterprise, “It’s a big blessing to be a part of something so big with Toyota.” Harris also said that the ad was a chance for “coaches to see my potential and possibly to offer more scholarships.” While the ad’s director, Joe Pytka, told the website, “Toni’s story and the Toyota RAV4 HV narrative complement each other nicely, and it was a true pleasure to feature them.”

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Harris Contracted Ovarian Cancer in Her Youth

Toni Harris Instagram page

Instagram/Toni HarrisToni Harris pictured on her Instagram page.

At the age of 18, Harris was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer. In 2017, Harris told CBS Los Angeles, “I found out I had Ovarian cancer stage one, I had a tumor inside of my stomach… I feel like anything that comes my way, I can overcome it, and that’s probably why I’ve overcome so much stuff in my life.” The cancer caused Harris’ body to weaken and caused her to lose a lot of weight.

At the time of that interview, Harris was suiting up as number 31 for East L.A. Community College for the first time. Harris told the school’s website that she wears 31 as a tribute to the Seattle Seahawks’ Kameron Chancellor. Harris described it saying, “The crowd was going crazy… chanting, “Let’s go Toni.” Cancer was not the only obstacle she has been forced to overcome, at age 4 Harris was put in the foster system and was moved from home-to-home until she was adopted at 13.

2. After Her Career in the NFL Is Over, Harris Wants to Be a Homicide Detective

VideoVideo related to toni harris: 5 fast facts you need to know2019-02-03T10:12:21-05:00

Harris is entertaining four offers to continue her college career. USA Today reports that Bethan College, Adams State University, Graceland University and Kentucky Christian University. Harris says she won’t sign a letter of intent for a while, she has until July, as she wants to weigh up all of her options. When her career in the NFL is over, Harris told USA Today that she wants “to be a homicide detective with a background in forensics. What motivates me is people constantly telling me I can’t. I like to prove people wrong.”

Harris told ESPN in June 2018, “My ultimate goal is to excel at a four-year [university] and become the first female NFL player. I know I can get there.” Harris told Rivals that she works with a personal trainer twice a day in an effort to realize her dream. She says, “We train four house every afternoon to work on speed and hand-eye coordination.”

3. Harris Is the 2nd Woman to Ever Recieve a Football Scholarship

Antoinette "Toni" Harris Football HighlightsFuture Female NFL Player !!2015-07-27T17:33:25.000Z

In the Spring of 2017, Becca Longo because the first woman in the U.S. to be offered a football scholarship. Longo signed a letter of intent to play as a placekicker for Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. Longo attended Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona. Long is listed as being 5-foot-11 and weighing 140 pounds.

Harris is the first woman to receive a college football scholarship as a non-kicker. She is the second woman overall to receive a full ride. Shelby Osborne signed with Campbellsville University in Kentucky in 2014 but not on a scholarship, the school doesn’t offer them.

4. Harris Said She Tried Cheerleading & Gymnastics But Football Remained Her True Love

Harris told CBS Los Angeles in 2017 that because she had been kicked off her junior team in Michigan, she tried her hand at gymnastics and cheerleading. Neither stuck, Harris said, “I guess it’s the passion I had for [football]. I’m getting a little emotional about… the fact that he gave me a chance and believed in me, it put so much joy in my heart.”

In her ESPN interview, Harris discussed her high school career in Detroit saying, “A lot of coaches didn’t believe in me. A coach told me nobody’s ever going to play you to be at the next level. In the end, you’ve got to push yourself. I’m going to focus on my goals.”

5. In High School, Harris Was Voted Homecoming Queen After She Had Started the Homecoming Game

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A post shared by Antoinette Harris (@_toniharris) on Jan 3, 2019 at 1:09pm PST

While in high school in Detroit, Harris was voted as homecoming queen. Harris told CBS LA in 2017 that she preferred dresses to pants and that she did not fit the”stereotypical Tom Boy mold.” Harris attended Redford Union High School in the Redford Charter Township in Michigan. She graduated in 2014. In her senior year, Harris started the school’s homecoming game and then was later voted as the school’s queen.

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