TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Flag football is now a collegiate sport at the NAIA and junior college level. As new as the sport is to college athletics, it's just as new for Lincoln High School's Kierra Cooper. New or not, Cooper's playing like a seasoned pro, as football is in her blood.
"I actually coached her older brother Marquel Pittman who played here at Lincoln," said assistant flag football coach Brandon McCray. "Then she had another brother that played here as well."
It's only fitting that eventually, the sport would finally catch hold of Cooper as well.
"A couple of my weightlifting teammates did flag football, and they were like you should come try out!" she remembered.
In her junior year, she did.
"I made the team, and I happen to be the fastest one on the team."
"Really one of our impact players, she has a bunch of stats on both sides of the ball," said McCray.
A dominant rusher, and a speedy running back, just two years in, Cooper's grabbed the attention of collegiate programs.
"My plan was to play all the sports in high school, then go to college and focus on school," she said. "Now it's like, I've gotten good at this, so I might as well keep doing it."
Hard work on the field translates to hard work in the classroom. As a dual enrolled student, Cooper has a 4.0 GPA.
"She actually has a class going on during practice," laughed McCray. "She's listening in on her classes through her air pods while she's out here breaking tackles and pulling flags."
It's that talent that's left open the possibility to play at the next level.
"When you do well in the classroom, it opens up options everywhere," said McCray.
"I'm glad that happened," added Cooper. "It's a blessing."
Options for an athlete with football in her blood. Cooper said she's still trying to figure out if she wants to play flag football at the next level, but she does know she wants to one day be a pediatrician.