It’s official: Vanderbilt has added women’s soccer goalkeeper Sarah Fuller to its roster as a kicker for Saturday’s game at Missouri with the Commodores’ rostered kickers in quarantine due to COVID-19 and/or contact tracing. Fuller is thought to be the first female athlete to play in a Power Five football game if she indeed takes the field against the Tigers. Fuller announced via social media on Friday that she will join the team, although there has been no official announcement as to whether she will play on Saturday.
Nonetheless, a source told 247Sports that Fuller is expected to take extra point attempts against Missouri at a minimum. She will wear No. 32.
“I think it’s amazing and incredible,” Fuller told Chad Bishop of Vanderbilt Athletics. “But I’m also trying to separate that because I know this is a job I need to do and I want to help the team out and I want to do the best that I can. … Placing that historical aspect aside just helps me focus in on what I need to do. I don’t want to let them down in anyway. It’s an honor they called on me to be able to do this and help them out.”
Simon Gibbs of the Vanderbilt Hustler first reported on Tuesday that Fuller attended Vanderbilt’s practice that day and went through a walk-through. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason confirmed Wednesday on ESPN 102.5 The Game and the SEC coaches teleconference that Fuller was “an option” at kicker against Missouri.
The Commodores have used two kickers so far this season, walk-ons Pierson Cooke — a converted punter — and Wes Farley. Cooke is 3 of 7 on field goals this season while the two have combined to knock through all 15 of their extra points. Javan Rice is also listed on the roster but has not been present on the sidelines during recent home games.
“She’s got a strong leg. We’ll see what that yields,” Mason said on the teleconference, via ESPN’s Alex Scarborough. “… Sarah’s an option. She seems to be a pretty good option, so we’ll figure out what that looks like on Saturday.”
Fuller is coming off an SEC Tournament title on Sunday for the Commodores and was a first-year starter as a senior. Typically, goalkeepers are known to have strong legs as they are asked to hit goal kicks to around midfield with significant hang time.
“Right now, we’re just looking at all options,” Mason said on 102.5 The Game. “Sarah, her coach Darren Ambrose and I are extremely close. Obviously I followed them through the (SEC) tournament. For us, it’s like any week in college football. You’re subject to testing, and then based on testing you’ve gotta figure out options of where you go. For us, talking to Sarah, she’s a champ. No pun intended. Just coming off an SEC championship in soccer and then coming out and looking at what we do and how we do it. She’s a complete competitor. She’s an option for us, and right now that’s where we sit.”