Well, it appears that the Cooper DeJean era at the University of Iowa has, likely, come to an end. The Iowa Athletic Department issued a statement late this afternoon confirming the rumors that had been flying around Twitter and Iowa Football message boards regarding an injury sustained by everyone’s favorite Iowan during practice on Wednesday.
There were several reports throughout the day indicating anything from a bad case of turf toe to something more serious, and sadly, it sounds like he suffered a broken fibula during practice. That this announcement came just hours after he was announced as a finalist for the Bronko Ngurski Trophy (awarded to the best Defensive player in the country) just adds insult to injury.
The announcement quoted Kirk Ferentz addressing the situation:
Initial reports have the recovery time for this injury at 6 weeks minimum, so it is possible (if unlikely) that Coop could pull a LaPorta and be back in time for Iowa’s bowl game, but there are no guarantees.
With DeJean out, RS freshman DeShaun Lee is the next man in at CB and will likely be starting opposite Jermari Harris (whom Lee started in place of the first two weeks of the season). Lee showed flashes in those two starts but has played sparingly since Harris’ return. On the season Lee has posted 16 tackles (9 solo) with two passes defensed.
As for DeJean, we have almost certainly seen the last of him in an Iowa uniform. Currently projected as the #17 player (and #2 CB) in the upcoming NFL draft, it would take something approaching a miracle to get him back on the Kinnick stadium sidelines in 2024. He finishes 2023 having yet to allow a touchdown in 400 snaps in coverage, 41 tackles (26 solo), 2 INTs, and 2 punt returns for touchdowns (yeah, I’m counting it, sue me).
Hopefully this Iowa team can overcome one more, massive injury, and clinch the Western Division title Saturday when Bert brings his Fightin’ Illini to Kinnick Stadium for Senior Day. Until them, enjoy this collection of Coop’s interceptions from last year: