Born on October 18, 1977
Swainsboro, Georgia
Inducted On
September 15, 2023
Location Inducted
Evansville, Indiana
Region Number
Evansville North High School
Evansville North High School
Deke led the Huskies to an undefeated regular season and the 5A State Championship game in 1995. He was selected Associated Press first team All-State and Indiana Football Coaches Association Top 50. In 1995, he was a finalist for Mr. Football in the state of Indiana. A finalist for Mr. Football in his senior year, Deke led the team to an undefeated 1995 regular season and an improbable victory in the Semi-State playoff game over then top ranked Ben Davis High School. A two-way star during his career at North, Cooper established school records for career pass receptions, receiving yardage, and touchdown receptions despite being shifted to running back during his senior season.
University of Notre Dame
Deke was a 2-year starter at Safety for the Fighting Irish. While at Notre Dame, he recorded 203 tackles, six interceptions, four fumbles recovered, seven fumbles forced, and a fumble return for a touchdown. As a freshman, he appeared in all 11 games for an AP Top 20 ranked team and recorded 3 interceptions. As a junior against Michigan State, he recorded 16 tackles and returned a fumble 96 yards for a touchdown. He delivered a game saving goal line tackle-for-loss on the final play on the road at Boston College. As a senior, he had a stretch of four takeaways in four games during the team's midseason four game win streak.
From 2001-2002, Deke was a two-time All-NFL Europe selection as a member of the Rhein Fire. In 2002, he was awarded All-NFL Europe Defensive Most Valuable Player. In 2002, he played 10 games with the Carolina Panthers. From 2003-2005, Deke was the starting safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 2007, he returned to the Carolina Panthers. During his NFL career, he recorded 218 tackles (173 solo), 6 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries.