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Harlem’s Dezzion Jordan, James Cooper Jr. commit to play college football

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 8:17 PM CDT
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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - James Cooper Jr. will go down as one of the best, if not the best, quarterbacks to come out of the 815. The only thing Cooper didn’t do in his senior year was compete for a state championship. On Thursday, he made his college commitment official.

Cooper signed his letter of intent to play football at Iowa Western Community College. The Reivers are one of the top JUCO programs in the country, and are currently ranked fourth this spring. The Huskies senior led Harlem to an undefeated season and its first NIC-10 championship since 1997. He owns the conference record for career passing yards and touchdowns, and was named the NIC-10 offensive MVP. He was also the Chicago Bears Player of the Week for his performance in Week 2 against Freeport.

But despite all the accolades, Cooper knows its back to square one with Iowa Western.

“I want to become the starter and then eventually, I mean, I hope not to be there too long,” explained Cooper. “Because, JUCO, if you have the grades, which I do, I can leave whenever I want after I get my offer. So, I’m hoping to start, get my offers and get out of there as quick as possible.”

“I had my offers from D1, D2, D3, NAIA, but it’s just not what I wanted. I want to be somewhere bigger. Obviously, that may sound bad to some people, but I want to be somewhere bigger. So I’m going to go the JUCO route and go somewhere hopefully bigger after that.”

Cooper was not the only football player to sign his letter of intent on Thursday. Wide receiver Dezzion Jordan will get his opportunity at the University of St. Francis out of the NAIA. After transferring from Jefferson for his senior year, Jordan was a key contributor to Harlem’s success this spring. He was named First Team All-Conference, catching 28 passes for 642 yards and nine touchdowns.

Not only is Dezzion getting to fulfill a childhood dream, he gets to do it with his older brother Demarian by his side. Demarian, 20, graduated from Jefferson in 2019.

“I got to play with him just a little bit when I was a freshman (at Jefferson),” said Dezzion. “So I really got the experience with him. It was real fun, the connections. That was the main goal since he couldn’t play at Ellsworth (Community College) his first year. He came back and we decided to go to the same college.”

“It’s always been a dream ever since I was 8. You know, playing junior tackle. I always loved football, watching highlights. So yeah, always thought it was a dream.”

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