Vanderbilt dual-sport athlete Sarah Fuller makes history
Just days removed from leading her team to an SEC Tournament Championship on the soccer field, Vanderbilt Commodores senior athlete Sarah Fuller helped out her school’s football program on the gridiron as well. In the process, Fuller made history becoming the first-ever woman to play Power 5 football and the third-ever female football player in FBS history.
The senior from Wylie, Texas, stepped out of her usual goalie’s box and into Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee as COVID-19 protocols and restrictions presented the historic opportunity for Fuller to kick for the Commodores. She squibbed the opening second-half kickoff to Mizzou, which was executed well and recovered by the Tigers at their own 35 yard line in her only action of the 41-0 ballgame. Nonetheless, the trailblazing play earned her SEC Special Teams Player of the Week honors.
“All I want to do is be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times I struggled in sports, but I’m so thankful that I stuck with it and it’s given me so many opportunities and I’ve met so many amazing people through sports,” Fuller said. “And I just want to say that literally you can do anything you set your mind to.”
Liz Heaston of Willamette in NAIA (1997), Katie Hnida of the University of New Mexico (Aug. 30, 2003), Tonya Butler of Division II West Alabama (Sept. 13, 2003), and April Goss of Kent State (2015) are all previous female kickers with college-playing experience and scoring before Fuller.
As far as she is concerned, Fuller said she plans to stick around “until someone tells me to go.”
“I would love to learn more, so if those guys come out of quarantine, I would love to learn from them and their experience,” Fuller said. “I’ve been having a lot of fun doing this. It’s a challenge for me, but it’s something I know I can do. It’s applicable from doing a goal kick to a field goal kick, so I want to continue learning, and if those guys can help me, I’m all for it.”
Upon graduation in the Spring of 2021, Fuller still has plans to pursue her master’s degree from the University of North Texas out of Denton in hospital administration with two years of eligibility for the Mean Green women’s soccer program. Vanderbilt will play again at 3 p.m. Saturday at No. 6 Georgia in Athens, Georgia. For more sports coverage, click here.