Pretty much the entire sports world is on hold right now, until... er, "reply hazy, try again later." But even with actual sporting events on hiatus at the moment, we do have some sports-adjacent happenings to report on. Hooray for recruiting! Iowa football landed a new member for its 2021 recruiting class earlier this week, courtesy of in-state athlete Cooper DeJean.
Excited to announce that I will be committing to play football at the University of Iowa! I want to thank my family and friends for all of their support along the way! #swarm21 #GOHAWKS pic.twitter.com/XCBfttxwSU— Cooper DeJean (@cdejean23) March 17, 2020
DeJean, listed at 6'2", 198 lbs, is rated a 3* prospect by both Rivals and 247Sports. He chose Iowa over offers from North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Illinois State, and UNI, as well as some level of interest from Nebraska, Virginia, and Kansas State.
DeJean did a little bit of everything in helping guide OABCIG (that's Odebolt-Arthur-Battle Creek-Ida Grove in case your acronym-decoding skills are rusty when it comes to small schools in Iowa) to a 2A state championship this year. Actually, that's not true -- he did a lot of everything for OABCIG. He played offense, defense, and special teams and produced absolutely monster numbers. As a quarterback, he threw for 3,546 yards and 42 touchdowns and ran for 1,292 yards on the ground and scored 16 touchdowns. Those 4,800 yards of total offense were 800 more than any other player in Iowa accounted for this season. On defense he played safety and racked up 34 tackles and five interceptions, including a pair of pick-sixes. And on special teams he served as a return man and -- you might want to sit down for this one -- punter! A hybrid QB-S-P-return guy? He might be the platonic ideal of Iowa football.
DeJean also excels in a variety of sports, including track and basketball, where he scored almost 26 ppg this winter. He also produced highlights like this:
While DeJean produced boffo numbers on offense, defense is where he's earmarked at Iowa. He's expected to play safety at Iowa. He certainly fits a familiar mold there: a small-school in-state star who excels at multiple sports? That's been a recipe for success for Iowa in the past, especially at safety. And if he's being tagged for the defensive secondary that means he also has the Phil Parker seal of approval -- and over the last 20 years no coach has done more with less in terms of star-studded prospects than Parker has. In Phil We Trust, right?
Here are some highlights from DeJean's junior season:
Most of the highlights are of him on the offensive side of the ball, but there are some clips of him as a defender. They're definitely promising: he seems to read plays well, has good football instincts, and has some very impressive ball skills. (It's harder to get a read on his tackling skill, since I think there's only one tackle from him in that entire 11-minute highlight video.) The biggest takeaway from that video, though, is his speed, elusiveness, and overall athleticism. He absolutely runs amok against the opposition in those clips. Of course, there's a big (BIG) difference between 2A football in Iowa and the Big Ten; will DeJean's athleticism translate to this level? That's a question we'll have to wait a few years to answer, but given Iowa's hit rate on players like DeJean in the past, consider us fairly optimistic.
Welcome aboard, Cooper.