Hawkeyes sophomore cornerback Cooper DeJean is in the midst of a breakout campaign. Saturday he recorded his third interception of the season — in the third straight game. But on this play, DeJean abandoned his shallow coverage, broke over the top of the streaking receiver and beat him to the spot.

DeJean then made a smooth over-the-shoulder grab at the Scarlet Knight 45-yard line and became a ball carrier. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound DeJean raced to the middle of the field and laid a nasty stiff arm on a would-be tackler. He picked up a few blocks from his Hawkeye teammates and sprinted into the end zone for a pick 6.

Enough of my narration, watch the play:

DeJean broke it down himself after the game:

“We were in man coverage, my guy just went under so I zoned off,” DeJean said. “I just saw the ball and attacked it.”

But the impressive return for the score was perhaps the bigger highlight. What some may not know about DeJean is that he was a pretty darn good high school quarterback at OA-BCIG in Iowa, which is roughly 225 miles west of Iowa City.

The Odebolt native threw for over 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,235 yards on the ground. His play earned him an all-state selection and an opportunity to play for the Hawkeyes.

Did the experience help DeJean make the play?

“I mean, maybe a little bit,” the soft spoken DeJean admitted.

“Especially playing quarterback having the ball in my hands every single play.”

“I caught the ball on one hash, so I knew everybody will be coming to that side. I wanted to get in there with those big boys so I just had to cut back to the other side and saw there was a lot of green grass over there.”

Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean (3) returns an interception for a touchdown against Rutgers during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

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