UPDATE: A news release confirming Cooper DeJean’s injury suggests he’s played his last game in an Iowa uniform:
Junior defensive back Cooper DeJean will miss the remainder of the 2023 football season, University of Iowa Moon Family Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz announced Wednesday. DeJean suffered an injury to his lower leg.
“This is truly heartbreaking for Cooper,” Ferentz said. “He has played extremely well and is a real playmaker on our team. We will all support Cooper during his recovery, which will continue into the new year. … This has been a season filled with challenges for our team. I am proud of how our players have responded with tremendous grit and determination. We are focused on Saturday.”
DeJean is one of the nation’s top college football players in 2023. He is a finalist for the Nagurski Award and is also a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe, Lott IMPACT and Bednarik awards.
The Odebolt, Iowa, played nearly 400 snaps in coverage this season without giving up a touchdown. He leads the Hawkeyes in pass break-ups (5), is second in interceptions (2) and seventh in tackles (41) in 2023.DeJean leads the Big Ten and ranks 13th nationally with an 11.5 punt return average. He had a 70-yard game-deciding touchdown late in the fourth quarter against Michigan State.
Iowa (8-2, 5-2) will host Illinois (5-5, 3-4) in its home finale Saturday at 2:35 p.m. (CT) on Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium. The game will be televised on FS1 and broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network.
Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz shared additional thoughts on his weekly radio show.
EARLIER UPDATE: According to multiple reports, Hawkeyes cornerback Cooper DeJean will be out for the remainder of the regular season with a lower leg injury.
The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman reported that DeJean likely has a broken fibula, which has a roughly six-week recovery timetable. Dochterman noted it was a possibility DeJean could return for a bowl game.
DeJean was just named a finalist for the Nagurski award, which goes to the nation’s top defender. He has two interceptions, seven passes defended and 41 tackles on the season. The Hawkeyes are allowing just 12.3 points per game on the season, good for third best in the country.
Iowa will rely on Jermari Harris and redshirt-freshman Deshaun Lee at cornerback the rest of the way, with a Big Ten championship berth at stake if the Hawkeyes can win one of their final two games.