PFF highlights Cooper DeJean’s meteoric rise

The 2022 college football season has just ended, but the Iowa Hawkeyes may have one of the most anticipated college football players in the country heading into the 2023 season.

The hype surrounding Iowa’s cornerback, safety, punt returner, gunner, and all-around footballer Cooper DeJean appears to be turning up the volume as his stock enjoys a meteoric rise for next season.

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Pro Football Focus recently highlighted how good he was as a cornerback in 2022. Of the five interceptions DeJean had, three ended in returns for touchdowns. That was a new program record for a season.

The passer rating of 49.7 allowed against him is excellent. For reference, Iowa’s offense had a passer rating of 106.7 per ESPN. Among ESPN’s qualified passers, JT Shrout of Colorado had the lowest passer rating nationwide with a 98.3 rating. DeJean made teams nearly twice as bad as the country’s lowest-skilled passer when they threw him.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz shared some of his thoughts on DeJean’s recruiting and what stood out in November.

“But you have to believe what you see and also believe what you feel. I think the bottom line, probably watching Cooper play basketball live, is really kind of, you just can’t deny what you’re seeing. He’s a really good athlete, super competitive. What we didn’t know is that he’s just a great guy on the football team. Unassuming isn’t the right word. But he’s not overly impressed with himself.

“He’s just trying to get out there and compete and seems to be doing really well. I’m impressed by many things he does. Probably the most impressive thing is that he does everything we ask of him, he just handles it. He doesn’t grind coffee on it at all. I’m sure he’s internal. Never would know. Just go out there and do it,” Ferentz said.

In his third season with the Hawkeyes, with the departures of Riley Moss and Kaevon Merriweather to the NFL, DeJean is counted as a veteran leader in the secondary school.

While these two go to the NFL, the secondary school is by no means rebuilding Iowa. You reload. DeJean and Xavier Nwankpa each had sixes in the 21-0 win over Kentucky at the TransPerfect Music City Bowl.

“Then if you give our defense a chance they could do some good things and both are playing great. Cooper is hardly a veteran, but he has played. And the fact that X then got this was great for him too when he started for the first time. So you get some young guys who get valuable experience and have a great experience,” Ferentz said of the Pairs a

Iowa also brings back Sebastian Castro, Quinn Schulte and Jermari Harris to its defensive backfield for 2023.

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