Before he announced his decision to the college football world, Cooper Dawson whispered the words to his friend, Kingsley Feinman.
"He's going to Syracuse," Feinman then told the watching crowd at the Hanahan High School auditorium Wednesday morning.
Dawson, a 6-5, 250-pound lineman, chose Syracuse over offers from Clemson, UCLA, Army, Central Florida and Tulane, among others. And he was happy to share the signing day spotlight with Feinman, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
The two have been friends for years, but became closer over the last year as Dawson rehabbed from a knee injury that cost him his senior season at Hanahan.
Feinman's friendship prevented Dawson from feeling sorry for himself as he rebuilt his torn ACL. Feinman is paraplegic, takes medicine through a feeding tube and has an in-home aide to help him dress, eat and use the bathroom. Over the summer, Feinman's mother asked Dawson if he'd serve as one of Kingsley's aides.
He did, and their friendship soon included movies and even a prom date of sorts. That led to Wednesday's signing day, where Dawson hatched his plan to include his friend in the big moment. A video of the announcement was a hit on Twitter.
"It's a big moment for me but I am glad I was able to share it with Kingsley," Dawson said. "He's an inspiration to me. The only disability is a bad attitude, and Kingsley showed that to me.
"I have a messed up leg and I am going to miss my senior year, but he has cerebral palsy and it affects him greatly," Dawson said. "But he goes around with a positive attitude."
Dawson had injured his knee during a football camp at Clemson, and Clemson had recently upgraded its scholarship offer from a "grayshirt" to a regular offer with mid-year enrollment. The grayshirt offer would have had Dawson enrolling at Clemson after the 2019 season.
But Dawson's official visit to Clemson's ACC rival, Syracuse, was eye-opening for him. After enrolling in January, he will get an opportunity to play his preferred position, defensive end. Clemson’s offer was as an offensive lineman, and UCF liked Dawson as a potential tight end.
"It was surprising to a lot of us," he said of Syracuse. "I went on my official visit, didn't expect much, but I fell in love with it. It's the best fit for me. They want me for the position that I want and I've always said I wanted to go somewhere that wants me as much as I want them. I felt the love from Syracuse."
Also Wednesday, Berkeley running back Keshawn Wicks made official his commitment to Old Dominion as the Monarchs announced his signing. James Island lineman Tereis Drayton signed with The Citadel.
At Summerville, lineman Daylen Powell signed with Western Kentucky, and quarterback Johnathan Bennett with Liberty.
Check back for more signing day updates.