Honors & Awards
» Second-Team All-American (USA Today, SI, FWAA, 2014)
» Third-Team All-American (Athlon, 2014)
» 2016 Nebraska Pat Clare Award
» Freshman All-American (Scout, 247 Sports, USA Today, 2014)
» 2014 Jet Award Punt Returner of the Year
» Paul Hornung Award Watch List (2015, 2017)
» Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches, 2017)
» 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)
» Nebraska Student-Athlete HERO Leadership Award (2015)
» Brook Berringer Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
» Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
De'Mornay Pierson-El was a versatile and electryifying performer for Nebraska throughout his Cornhusker career. A Virginia native, Pierson-El burst onto the scene in 2014 earning All-America honors as a punt returner as a true freshman. He continued to be a difference-maker on special teams throughout his career, while also producing an outstanding Nebraska career as a receiver.
The 5-9, 190-pound Pierson-El finished his career third in Nebraska history with 904 career punt return yards, including 596 yards and three punt return touchdowns in 2014. Pierson-El finished his career with 12 career punt returns of at least 25 yards. He also became the 11th player with 100 career receptions in a Nebraska uniform, finishing his career with exactly 100 catches. He also ranked 13th in school history in receiving yardage with 1,309 yards. In addition to his three career punt return touchdowns, Pierson-El caught 11 touchdown passes and threw for one in his career.
Pierson-El put together his highly productive career despite his 2015 season being very limited by foot and knee injuries, that continued to slow him into his junior campaign. Pierson-El's game-breaking performance as a freshman punt returner earned him freshman All-America honors from multiple outlets and second-team All-America accolades from the Football Writers Association of America honoree, making him the first Husker freshman to make the FWAA All-America team.
A communication studies major, Pierson-El graduated in December of 2017, completing his undergraduate work in 3 1/2 years. He was named to the Brook Berringer and Tom Osborne Citizenship Teams multiple times in his career.
Pierson-El played in all 12 games and made nine starts at wideout, while also continuing as the Huskers' primary punt returner. He finished his senior season with 45 receptions for 623 yards and five touchdowns, joining Stanley Morgan Jr. and JD Spielman in forming one of the nation's top receiving trios. For his effort, Pierson-El was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice by the conference coaches.
Pierson-El had six games with four or more receptions in 2017, including a season-high eight receptions for 101 yards against Northern Illinois. He had a touchdown reception in four of the first five games of the season. Pierson-El began the year with a touchdown catch and 23 rushing yards against Arkansas State, and a week later at Oregon he caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.
After his strong effort against NIU, Pierson-El opened conference play with a season-long 63-yard punt return to set up a Nebraska touchdown, and he also caught a TD against the Scarlet Knights. He had four receptions for 94 yards and a season-long 45-yard touchdown catch in an impressive Nebraska offensive showing at Illinois. He had five receptions for 62 yards in the Huskers' comeback win at Purdue, and caught his final touchdown of the season at Penn State.
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 week 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, 2017, 2018) and the Tom Osborne Citizenship Teams (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018). He also received a HERO Leadership Award in 2015.