IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa junior defensive back Cooper DeJean has been named to the 2023 Paul Hornung Award Watch List. The announcement was made on Thursday by the Louisville Sports Commission.
The award, which is in its 14th year, recognizes and rewards versatile, high-level performers in major college football.
DeJean (6-foot-1, 209 pounds) was a first-team All-Big Ten selection by the media and second team by the coaches in 2022 after finishing with 75 tackles, five interceptions and eight pass breakups. He set Iowa’s single season record with three pick 6’s in 2022. He also averaged a team-best 16.5 yards on 10 punt returns a year ago.
The Odebolt, Iowa, native was voted the 2022 Music City Bowl Most Valuable Player after notching seven tackles (six solo), including one for loss, and notching a 14-yard pick-6 against Kentucky. DeJean was named the Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Week versus Wisconsin (Nov. 12, 2022) after totaling 10 tackles (seven solo), including one for loss, and returning an interception 32 yards for a score. He was the recipient of Iowa’s Reggie Roby Special Teams Award (overall) and Team Hustle Award (defense) last season.
Earlier this week, DeJean was named to the 2023 Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List, which is awarded to the best defensive player in college football. He is recognized on the Athlon Sports and Phil Steele 2023 preseason All-America second teams, as well as being voted to the Big Ten Conference Preseason Honors List and first-team All-Big Ten accolades by Phil Steele, Athlon Sports and Pro Football Focus.
The Hornung Award was established in the memory of the late football legend Paul Hornung. Hornung played every position in the offensive backfield during his Notre Dame career in the 1950s and also played defensive safety, punted, placekicked and returned kickoffs. He was named All-America at quarterback as a senior and won the Heisman Trophy in 1956, then was the first player selected in the NFL Draft. He earned NFL MVP honors for the Packers in 1961 as a triple-threat halfback and placekicker by setting a single-season NFL scoring record that stood for 46 years. Hornung is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.
DeJean and the Hawkeyes open their season on Sept. 2 against Utah State. The sold-out game is set for an 11 a.m. (CT) kickoff.