There’s a different kind of lineman competing in the upcoming California Classic all-star game, and it has nothing to do with how they’ve been graded on the field or their stats. It has to do with their gender.
As reported by Los Angeles ABC affiliate KABC and the Los Angeles Times, Compton Centennial offensive guard and defensive tackle Eriana Pula is the first female to be selected to the annual California Classic game, which will be played in Sacramento in January. Pula, who is also a star in the classroom with a 4.3 GPA, stands 5-foot-10 and 250 pounds and started on both sides of the line.
Most tellingly, she reportedly often fooled those who saw her or played against her.
“Oh, man, you’re a beast,” one foe on the line reportedly told Pula in a postgame handshake line when he learned she was a she.
This commentary from Plays and Grades scout Kevin Steele, one of the selectors for the California Classic, may be even more straightforward and telling:
“I did not know when I scouted her that she was a girl,” Steele said. “I didn’t see that. I did not know that. She’s a good player.”
Now, for one more game Pula will be recognized among the best in her home state. She has decided to forego football when she reaches college, but will be excited to strap on her helmet one final time.
“A lot of people doubted it but once they saw I could do it, it was like, put her in,” Pula told KABC.