Honors & Awards
» Second-Team All-American (USA Today, SI, FWAA, 2014)
» Third-Team All-American (Athlon, 2014)
» 2016 Nebraska Plat Clare Award
» Freshman All-American (Scout, 247 Sports, USA Today, 2014)
» 2014 Jet Award Punt Returner of the Year
» Two-Time Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week (Fresno State, Iowa)
» Nebraska Freshman Record Holder - Long Punt Return, Punt Returns Yards & TDs
» Nebraska Bowl Record for Receptions (8 vs. USC, 2014 Holiday Bowl)
» Nebraska Special Teams MVP (2014)
» Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2014, 2016)
» Paul Hornung Award Watch List (2015)
» Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award (2015)
» Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017)
» Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017)
2017 Season Notes
» Caught two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 23 yards against Arkansas State
» Hauled in a career-high-tying eight passes for a season-high 101 yards against Northern Illinois
» Returned a punt 63 yards to set up a Nebraska touchdown against Rutgers, the 12th return of at least 25 yards in his career, while catching three passes and a touchdown
» Had a season-long reception of 45 yards against Illinois
Senior De’Mornay Pierson-El hopes for an explosive and healthy final season with the Huskers in 2017. Pierson-El possesses electrifying play-making ability as a punt returner and is expected to be a primary receiver in the Husker passing game. The 5-9, 190-pound Pierson-El is an excellent fit in Nebraska’s versatile offense and brings ample game experience to a wideout group that lost three fifth-year seniors to graduation.
Pierson-El had a productive 2016 campaign as a receiver and return man, but was still slowed by a knee injury he suffered in 2015. Pierson-El hopes to recapture the game-breaking style that earned him All-America honors as a punt returner as a freshman in 2014, when he was named a second-team All-America selection and a freshman All-American by several organizations. He was a second-team Football Writers Association of America honoree, becoming the first Husker freshman to make the FWAA All-America team.
Pierson-El is poised to join the Huskers’ 1,000-yard receiving club this fall. He also has 812 career punt return yards to rank fifth in school history and just 188 yards from becoming the third player in NU history with 1,000 punt return yards. Pierson-El has eight career returns of at least 25 yards.
A communication studies major, Pierson-El and is on track to graduate in December.
Pierson-El played in all 13 games and made six starts at receiver. He finished the season with 20 catches for 254 yards, an average of 12.7 yards per catch, and had a 40-yard touchdown against Purdue. He caught at least one pass in 10 of 13 games. Pierson-El also handled punt return duties and had 23 returns for 168 yards, including a key 45-yard return against Oregon.
Pierson-El made his first big play of the season late in the first half against Oregon with a 45-yard punt return to set up a touchdown and ignite a Husker rally. He had three receptions for 31 yards at Northwestern, and a wekk later had a 27-yard punt return in the win over Illinois.
Pierson-El notched his lone touchdown of the season against Purdue on a 40-yard catch in the third quarter to give NU a 17-14 lead. He finished the game with three receptions for a season-high 69 yards. He also had three catches, including a 29-yarder against Minnesota and rushed for 21 yards against the Gophers. Pierson-El closed the season with a season-high five receptions for 49 yards against Tennessee.
Pierson-El played in just five games because of injury and finished the season with 12 receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown. He also had four punt returns for 48 yards.
He saw his first action of the year at Illinois, and caught two passes a week later against Wisconsin. He had 31 yards on three receptions at Minnesota, including a 14-yard touchdown reception, and also had two punt returns for 49 yards, highlighted by a 42-yard first-quarter return. He had a season-high five catches for 31 yards against Northwestern and had one catch at Purdue before his injury.
Pierson-El played in all 13 games, serving as the top punt returner throughout the year, and starting six games at receiver. He ranked second nationally in punt return average at 17.5 yards per return. His 596 total punt return yards topped the nation by nearly 200 yards and ranked third on the Nebraska season charts. Pierson-El tied for the national lead with three punt returns for touchdowns - one shy of the NU record. He also had two of the eight longest punt returns in the nation in 2014 (86 and 80 yards).
He caught 23 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns, with 17 of his 23 receptions in the final four games, including a Nebraska bowl-record eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown against USC. He added 10 kickoff returns for 147 yards.
Pierson-El had an eight-yard touchdown catch in his NU debut against Florida Atlantic. He first showed his punt return explosiveness against McNeese State with five returns for 52 yards, including a 25-yarder.
Pierson-El earned Big Ten Special Teams Player-of-the-Week honors at Fresno State when he had five punt returns for 150 yards. He had an 86-yard touchdown return in the second quarter, the third-longest in the nation in 2014, the seventh-longest in NU history and the longest ever for a Husker freshman. He added a 51-yard return later in the quarter.
Pierson-El’s second punt return for a touchdown came at Michigan State on a 62-yard fourth-quarter return. Pierson-El had a big night at Northwestern, making three catches for 66 yards, including a season-long 46-yard reception. Pierson-El also threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Armstrong Jr. to became the first Husker since Bobby Newcombe in 2000 to score touchdowns on a punt return, reception and also throw for a touchdown.
Pierson-El made his first start at receiver against Rutgers. A week later, he opened the scoring against Purdue with a 17-yard touchdown. He also had a 42-yard punt return in the first quarter against the Boilermakers. Pierson-El caught four passes for a then-career-high 87 yards against Minnesota, including his third receiving touchdown.
Pierson-El helped key Nebraska’s comeback at Iowa. He had three punt returns for 134 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter alone, he had two returns for 121 yards, the first setting up a Nebraska touchdown and the 80-yard return giving NU its first lead of the day. He also had four carries for 10 yards in the game.
Pierson-El capped the year with eight catches for 102 yards against USC, including a nine-yard touchdown catch.
Before Nebraska (West Potomac HS)
Pierson-El posted prolific offensive numbers for Coach Jeremiah Davis at West Potomac High School in Alexandria, Va., while also excelling as a kick returner. As a senior, Pierson-El primarily played quarterback for West Potomac and was a dual-threat option. Pierson-El threw for 876 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for 1,007 yards and 20 touchdowns.
As a junior, Pierson-El rushed for 1,658 yards and 26 touchdowns. He also caught 10 passes for 127 yards. Pierson-El earned second-team Class AAA all-state honors as a kick returner from the Virginia High School Coaches Association. As a sophomore, Pierson-El focused his time at receiver and caught 49 passes for 781 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Rivals.com and Scout.com both ranked Pierson-El among the nation’s top 100 receivers. Pierson-El was also a member of the basketball team for three seasons. He only visited Nebraska, but had offers from Boston College, North Carolina, Marshall and Old Dominion.
Pierson-El is the grandson of William and Louise Carter and he was born on Dec. 26, 1995. He is a communication studies major and was named to the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll in the fall of 2014 and 2016. Pierson-El is active in the community volunteering his time with Uplifting Athletes, Make-A-Wish, Nebraska’s Sportsmanship Rally, the Lincoln Marathon and numerous school and hospital visits. For his efforts, Pierson-El has been named to the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2015, 2016) and the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017). He also received a HERO Leadership Award in 2015.