Iowa athletics confirmed Wednesday that Hawkeyes cornerback Cooper DeJean will be out for the rest of the 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. But Kirk Ferentz says DeJean’s recovery will continue through Iowa’s bowl game.
“This is truly heartbreaking for Cooper. 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.”Kirk Ferentz, Iowa head football coach
Ferentz noted during his weekly radio show that the injury was suffered in practice, saying DeJean planted his foot and he “twisted in a way where something had to give.” Ferentz thought DeJean’s recovery would be routine.
Earlier on Wednesday, DeJean was just named a finalist for the Nagurski Award, which goes to the nation’s top defender. He has two interceptions, five pass break-ups 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.
It’s possible DeJean has played his final snap for Iowa. He’s a projected first-round NFL Draft pick this coming spring.
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.
“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,” added Ferentz.
Iowa hosts Illinois Saturday for Senior Day, before visiting Nebraska in the regular season finale on Black Friday.