De'Mornay Pierson-El was on everyone's lists to be a contributor as a true freshman, but it’s not likely that anyone could have called how big of a contributor he’d be and how much he can impact a game. That is, unless you are his old high school coach and if that’s the case the success that Pierson-El is enjoying now at Nebraska isn’t a surprise to him at all.
”No, I said it last year,” West Potomac head coach (VA) Jeremiah Davis said. “I thought that the biggest transition that he would have to make from high school to the college game was the speed of the game.
”Along with the speed of the game comes the respect of the speed that have to have when you are on the field. I’m not lying, he’s doing all of the same things on the football field he’s done in high school.”
But Davis had to revise. There are some things that Pierson-El did while in high school that he believes will come.
”He hasn’t hurdled anyone yet. He hasn’t caught a screen pass in space and broke a number of arm tackles. He hasn’t ran anyone over yet. He hasn’t because he hasn’t had a chance.
”He was an all-region wide receiver as a sophomore. He was an all-region running back as a junior. He was an all-region quarterback and cornerback as a senior. He threw for 1,000 yards and ran for 1,000 yards through nine games as a senior.”
On paper, Pierson-El isn’t going to blow you away. The true freshman is 5-foot-9 and 175-pounds. There are a number of things that make him different though according to Coach Davis. Pierson-El has been coached on not just what to do on a particular play, but what to do when that play goes wrong.
”Part of all of the success is because of his attitude. He’s not cocky and he’s not arrogant. He’s just a great kid. We talked every week about staying positive.
”We talked about how to handle a dropped pass or a muffed punt or a fumble. It’s his attitude. He stays positive and that helps him.”
Pierson-El has impacted the team this year in a number of different ways already. He has a touchdown receiving, two punt returns for touchdowns and another touchdown throwing. Northwestern didn’t kick any of their kick-offs deep a week ago presumably to keep the ball out of his hands.
One might wonder how did the east coast teams miss this talent? Why didn’t the true freshman stay out on the east coast to attend one of the schools that did see? Coach Davis says it came down to fit and it came down to the best opportunity.
”A lot of the people last year questioned Demornay going to Nebraska,” Davis said. “He could have gone to Maryland and a lot of schools closer by. It all came down to fit and the support he could receive at Nebraska. He has a chance to be one of the best at Nebraska; one of the all-time greats.”