Growing up as a young football player in Jacksonville, Florida, Desmond Cooper's dream was to play in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. This past weekend, that dream became a little closer to reality.
Cooper, who played his final two college seasons with the Charlotte 49ers, was signed to his hometown team's 90-man roster after trying out at the Jaguars' rookie camp. The signing was officially announced by the team this morning.
Cooper certainly made his impact felt in his two years with Charlotte. A transfer from Wake Forest (where he appeared in every game in 2011 as a redshirt freshman), he came on board with the 49ers in 2012 to join his former defensive coordinator at Wake, Brad Lambert, as the latter worked to build a program from scratch. He recorded 47 tackles and an interception as he provided a big boost for a young defensive corps. This past season, he notched 42 tackles (three TFLs), three interceptions (tops on the team), and three forced fumbles.
While it might be a long shot that Cooper makes the 53-man roster, it's remarkable to see that players from a still-young program are getting a look from NFL teams. Cooper wasn't the only individual from Charlotte to participate in a rookie camp: Daniel Blitch, who came with him from Wake Forest after the 2011 season, worked out with the Carolina Panthers last week.