Tampa, Florida — The University of Tampa hosted the 10th Annual Tampa Bay High School Football Combine this weekend, sponsored by DeBartolo Sports. Nearly 300 players from all over the Bay area attended and all of the eyes, not to mention cameras, were focused on the smallest player in cleats. In a sport that is typically all about bigger, faster and stronger, the player getting the most attention was none of those things.
She was, however, the only player with a ponytail.
“I don’t think they’ve seen a girl playing before,” said Dunedin incoming junior Daryeh Mims. “I’m so small.”
Mims is 5’1″ and gets lost in a crowd. Standing in line next to peers over a foot taller than her, she admitted she was a bit intimidated to be performing in front of the group.
“I’m always nervous,” she said.
Imagine how her parents felt watching their daughter on the field with budding men.
“It’s hard to watch sometimes, you know, out of fear that she’s going to get hurt, but I love to watch her do what she loves to do,” said Mims’ mother, Kimberley Logan. “She’s actually good at it.”
Mims played quarterback for her flag football team last year but decided to give tackle football a try this fall.
“Flag wasn’t challenging me enough,” she said.
Now, armed with her pink cleats, she wants to hit with the guys.
“She’s going to be fine. She has brothers,” said Dyontae Mims, the only child in their family who is younger than Daryeh. “I’m pretty sure that a couple guys doesn’t going to hurt her. She can take a tackle.”
And deliver one?
“Of course. She’s given them to me all the time,” he added with a somewhat serious smile.
Mims, who has eight siblings, wants to play safety for the Falcons. It’s her favorite position and the same one her favorite player, Pro Bowler Troy Polamalu, plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Mims runs track as well and thinks her speed is her best skill on the field.
“She’s faster than me,” said Dyontae. “She’s way faster than me.”
Now, she will get the chance to see if she can keep up with the guys.