ODEBOLT, Iowa (BVM) — A year or two ago, if Cooper DeJean was asked what he planned to do after high school, he would have said he would go on to play college basketball over the other three sports he competes in: football, track and baseball.
It is not a surprising answer. The 6-foot-2 senior guard at OABCIG High School is remarkably athletic and is often on the basketball court dunking with ease.
Gameday, conference title game at 7 in Kingsley against Siouxland Christian!! pic.twitter.com/64KM64vRxN
— Cooper DeJean (@cdejean23) February 8, 2020
Last year, as a junior, he also eclipsed 1,000 points as a Falcon while averaging 26 points. As a sophomore, he averaged around 23 points.
However, the four–sport athlete made a decision last year to not pursue a future in basketball. He instead chose to focus on football.
“I think it was after my sophomore season, I had a pretty good year at receiver and into the start of my junior season I began to get contacted by all these coaches,” DeJean said. “I think that’s when I realized football would be best for me.”
DeJean had a breakout junior season as the starting quarterback for OABCIG. He had been a receiver and a safety in previous years, but with the Falcons’ quarterback graduating, it was DeJean’s turn to step up.
“It was definitely a little bit of a change,” DeJean said. “I think the years leading up to it at wide receiver helped me get used to the speed of the game.”
He had also played quarterback all the way up to high school before switching to receiver.
Last year, DeJean threw for 3,546 yards, adding to that another 1,292 yards rushing and 66 total touchdowns. As a safety, he had 5 interceptions and 34 tackles. As if that wasn’t enough, DeJean also punted and was the return man for OABCIG.
The Falcons would go undefeated in the regular season and went on to win their first-ever state title. In the state championship against Waukon, DeJean went 19 for 34 with 250 yards, threw for 2 touchdowns, rushed for 167 yards on 20 carries and another 2 touchdowns.
At that point, people from the Odebolt, Ida Grove, Battle Creek and Arthur area already knew about DeJean and his amazing athletic talent. The unfortunate teams that had to play against him also knew. However, it was that championship game that made the whole state notice him and the Falcons.
“After we won the state title, I was getting a bunch of DMs on social media from people I didn’t even know. It was crazy that people started to notice what we were doing that season,” DeJean said.
People would even come up to him when they saw him in public just to say congrats or to compliment him on his talent. College coaches also took notice.
“After the season is when it (recruiting) really kicked up,” DeJean said. “The season definitely helped with recruiting.”
DeJean received offers from Iowa, North Dakota State, Illinois State and South Dakota State and received interest from other Power 5 schools.
On March 17, DeJean announced, via Twitter, that he would be committing to Iowa.
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
“I’ve been a Hawkeye fan all of my life,” DeJean said.
To be able to play at Iowa is a dream come true. As a Hawkeye, he is expected to play safety.
Before he heads to Iowa City, DeJean still has a season to finish and the Falcons have a title to defend.
“I think we can make a run at it but it’s still too early to tell,” DeJean said.
DeJean’s senior football season will also be longer than most as he was invited to play in the 2021 All-American Bowl.
“It’s been a dream of mine growing up,” DeJean said.
He will compete with the best high school players in the country in that game, giving the whole country a chance to learn what everyone in the state of Iowa already knows.