COLUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - Mariel Cooper starred at SC State and the Citadel as a defensive back. His goal was to play college football with his brother Destin Wise.
Tragically Destin passed away in a car accident last June at the age of 18. So Cooper started a foundation, WeBAll4Destin and the Do it Big 7 on 7 football tournament in honor of his brother.
Cooper hopes that WeBall4Destin will grow into something more. The long term goal is raise enough money to build an indoor multi-purpose sports facility in Sumter.
"Coming up you know I didn't really get the specific critiquing in perfecting my craft so you know I just want to provide that for the youth in the community," Cooper said.
Cooper went on to win MEAC titles for the Bulldogs in 2013 and 2014 and a Southern Conference title with the Citadel last season.
He entered the NFL draft and wasn't drafted. But days after the draft he received a phone call.
"I was at work and this random number called me, 'I'm like hello? He was like yeah what's going on this so and so from the Washington Redskins you know how are you doing?' This time it's two weeks after the draft so this time the excitement has rekindled."
With a chance to make an NFL team Cooper is doing all he can for Sumter and the memory of Destin.
"I like to tell people it's bigger than just football. You know not just balling physically with football but just whatever you're doing in life. Just doing it big regardless and that's just the message and the slogan I want to push," Cooper said.
You can follow Cooper's journey in season three of the show Undrafted on the NFL Network which airs on Tuesday nights.
He was cut by the Redskins earlier this month after an injury and finding a spot on loaded veteran secondary in Washington but he's receiving interest from the Lions and the Jets.
For information on his foundation follow @WeBall4Destin on Instagram and Mariel Cooper @DonCoop20 on Twitter.