Caitlin Clark, possibly the most exceptional female basketball player in history, encounters an unforeseen hurdle from a former Iowa athlete.

Formerly a cornerback for Iowa and now a highly anticipated prospect in the NFL Draft, Cooper DeJean disclosed that NFL organizations often probed him during the combine about his capacity to outmatch Clark in a one-on-one basketball contest.
“I believe I could win,” DeJean stated in an interview with CBS Sports on Tuesday.
DeJean’s response surprised the interviewer, who then reminded him of Clark’s status as the former Iowa Hawkeyes superstar and the Indiana Fever’s top overall draft pick, widely hailed as the greatest women’s basketball player ever. However, DeJean’s background in basketball—a three-time letter winner at point guard in high school—could offer him an edge.

 

“She’d definitely score on me, no doubt, but I think I could manage,” DeJean remarked, acknowledging Clark’s impressive shooting skills. “It would be a close match, though… She’s lethal from anywhere on the court, I believe.”
DeJean’s confidence in facing off against Clark doesn’t undermine her skills; instead, it mirrors his own belief in his athletic abilities. He touts a prosperous high school tenure as a multi-disciplinary athlete, clinching state championships in both track and football. Starting as a sophomore, he amassed 1,000 receiving yards before leading his team to successive state titles as the quarterback, notching 59 touchdowns his senior year while also excelling as a defensive back with three interceptions.

Initially recruited as a safety at Iowa, DeJean shifted to cornerback due to injuries within the Hawkeyes’ defensive lineup during his freshman season. Thriving in this new role, he intercepted seven passes, returning two for touchdowns. DeJean’s pivotal interception returned for a touchdown against Kentucky in the 2022 Music City Bowl earned him the game’s MVP honors.

DeJean’s adaptability, a notable asset in football, has stirred some speculation regarding his draft prospects. While his first-round talent is undeniable, there have been discussions about whether reverting to safety at the professional level might better suit him.

Yet, such deliberations don’t seem to faze DeJean, who is determined to contribute to his future team’s success in any capacity possible.
“Really, wherever the team needs me, wherever they see me at, wherever they think I can impact the game the most,” said DeJean, who has teamed up with Head & Shoulders and their Make Every Wash Count campaign. “Whatever position that is, I’m willing to do that. Obviously, I played corner most of my college career, but I feel like there’s multiple positions in a defense that I can play. I just want to trust the coaches that have been doing it for a long time and try to make an impact wherever they put me.”