The early signing period for college football began on Wednesday, and it allows high school seniors to sign their letters of intent before National Signing Day in February.
These college announcements are usually over-the-top events where 17- and 18-year-olds get arguably the biggest spotlights they’ve ever received up to that point.
TV cameras and media are often present as these kids get to have their own “Decision” moment similar to the one LeBron James had when announcing he was joining the Miami Heat.
That was the stage at Hanahan High in South Carolina on Wednesday for football recruit Cooper Dawson, a three-star defensive end per 247 Sports and one of the top players in the state.
However, even though Dawson was given the stage, he let someone else share in the spotlight during his college announcement.
Dawson sat alongside his friend Kingsley Feinman, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Together they announced Dawson’s decision.
This is one of the greatest signing days you will ever see. Hanahan’s Cooper Dawson picks Syracuse- but does it by first telling close friend Kingsley Feinman. Kingsley announces the decision- Dawson adds that Kingsley taught him the only disability is a bad attitude. @ABCNews4 pic.twitter.com/3OGJzJmlXg
— Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) December 19, 2018
“I brought Kingsley out here today because he’s inspired me a lot through the torn ACL process,” Dawson said. “He taught me that the only disability is a bad attitude. If he can come around every day with a big ol’ smile, I can do just the same.
“So, without further ado, I told Kingsley I’d announce it to him before I told anyone else. So, I’m going to tell him and let him announce it to y’all.”
“He’s going to Syracuse,” Feinman said to a round of applause.
After the announcement, Feinman’s mother revealed just how much that moment meant to her son.
“I can promise you,” she said, “it’s the highlight of his life right now.”
Dawson and Feinman have been friends since their freshman year, and their bond grew stronger over the years. Prior to their senior year, Feinman’s mother called Dawson and asked him if he would be one of Feinman’s aids.
“We have very few people who we trust to help us with these daily rituals of feeding and medication,” she said. “It’s a lot to take on. It’s a major responsibility. Most people don’t step up to take on that responsibility.”
Dawson had offers from in-state powerhouse Clemson, Vanderbilt and Central Florida, among others. But he elected to head north to Syracuse, and he is the top-ranked defensive lineman in the Orange’s 2019 Class.
Feinman will take classes at Charleston Southern next year, and he and Dawson already have a plan to meet up before a game either at Syracuse or at Clemson.
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