CANTON, Ohio (WCIV) - In May, Corey Washington was finishing up his college career at Newberry College and looking forward to the NFL draft.
Things didn't go his way: he wasn't drafted and he got cut by the Cardinals. But Washington had a glimmer of hope after signing with the New York Giants.
In his preseason debut during the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, it all came together for Washington.
The undrafted kid from North Charleston High School made the game-changing play in front of a cast of new Hall of Famers. It was worth the wait.
"It's real big. I came from a small school, the underdog right now. I have to go out and make plays like that," he said. "I'm a 6-foot-4 receiver. Eli (Manning) hasn't had that since Nicks went, so I'm trying to replace Nicks and go out and make plays."
It may have only been the fourth quarter of the first preseason game of the year, but that doesn't matter to Washington.
"It don't matter how small the school is, you have to keep working hard and you can do what I just did. These schools, it's important for small-school guys like myself," he said. "Preseason games are a chance for me to make the 53-man roster, and hopefully help New York get back on top and to the Super Bowl."
Washington is in training camp this week, rubbing elbows with guys like Manning and Victor Cruz, but getting through the new surroundings by making several phone calls a week to a familiar voice, Jimmy Brown.
Brown is his high school coach and knew him as a lanky receiver getting his act together at North Charleston High.
"When we finally got in the game on the offensive end, we got excited and saw it was tight game. We were hoping coaches would open it up a bit. I turned to my wife, 2nd and 14 and said, 'They are going to go deep to Corey,' and sure enough they did," said Brown.
"I woke up the neighborhood," Brown said, describing his reaction.
"It's a great feeling. I'm doing this for my aunt and cousin who passed away a few years ago," Washington said. "I caught the ball and saw nothing in front of me, I said, 'Thank you, Jesus."
Washington still hasn't made the team, and he know it's an uphill journey, but one night hobbling on a bad ankle and Washington opened some very important eyes.
"I wasn't worried. I was going to fight through," he said. "I talked to my grandma who said, 'No matter what happens, to fight through it.' She said, 'I don't want to see you back in Charleston,' so I have to push through and make her happy."
On Monday night, he made a 73-yard step in the right direction.