Amidst a crazy and tumultuous National Signing Day across the country where high school seniors are making life-changing decisions, Hanahan High School’s Cooper Dawson’s decision to attend Syracuse University may be one of the most prolific of the day.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end hailing out of the South Carolina high school made his announcement Wednesday morning amongst a crowd of proud Hanahan High friends, family, and supporters alike. However, this announcement was a little bit different. The versatile pass rusher who is talented on both sides of the ball had a good friend of his to help him make the announcement.
Dawson suffered a torn ACL and did not play his senior year. At the time, he became close with a young man by the name Kinglsey Feinman, who has Cerebral Palsy.
During his injury, Dawson cited his ability to cope with his injury having Feinman by his side as a source of encouragement. As a paid tribute to his friend, Dawson allowed him to make the announcement of his commitment to the Orange.
Check out the video below.
In the video, Dawson accredited his buddy on how much he inspired him to never give up and always have a positive outlook on how far he has come and how far he will go.
“I brought Kingsley out here today because he has inspired me a lot through the torn ACL process,” Dawson said, according to The Post and Courier. “He taught me that the only disability is a bad attitude, and if he can come around with this big smile every day, I can do just the same.”
Met with empathetic “aww’s” and applause, Dawson announced that Kingsley would be the first recipient of the news, as he would then tell the audience of Dawson’s decision. He whispered that decision in Feinman’s left ear, only for Dawson’s friend to say the verbal commitment aloud.
The defensive end ultimately decided to attend the Northern New York school over his other two final choices of UCF and Clemson. The newly committed Syracuse three-star pass rusher is ranked as the country’s 109th best offensive tackle in the country.
Dawson will have the opportunity to compete for the starting edge rusher position, considering that three of the four defensive ends on the roster will be entering their final seasons of eligibility in 2019. Syracuse’s already established pass rusher, sophomore Caleb Okechukwu will likely compliment him in Dino Babers’ defense if he is to win the starting job next year.
After two consecutive 4-8 seasons for Syracuse, optimism for the program’s progression into a viable ACC threat is growing. In Dino Babers’ best season as head coach for the Orange to date, they finished 9-3 and 6-2 overall in the ACC; their best record in the conference in over 17 years.
With a new pass rusher, along with 15 other commitments being verbalized for the Orange, things may seem to be getting better for the program. Surely, they aren’t just getting a talented football player, but also a humble and appreciative class act who will lead by example in this forthcoming freshman class in 2019.