LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska sophomore wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El will be out six to eight weeks with a foot injury, according to an emailed statement by head coach Mike Riley on Wednesday afternoon.
"Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley announced Wednesdaythat sophomore wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El suffered a foot injury in Tuesday’s practice and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. Riley also confirmed that freshman receiver Lavan Alston will be out for the season after suffering a knee injury during Tuesday’s practice."
An All-American punt returner in 2014, Pierson-El looked like he would be a major threat in the Nebraska receiving game this season, after finishing last year on a strong note.
Six weeks would sideline the former Virginia prep until after the non-conference portion of Nebraska's schedule - which includes games against BYU and Miami. Eight weeks would potentially put the Huskers' matchup with Big Ten West rival Wisconsin in jeopdary.
A Big Ten Player to Watch in 2015, Pierson-El recorded 23 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns as a receiver in 2014, but made his impact on special teams, proving to be one of the best punt returners in the country.
The true freshman had 34 returns, for 596 yards (17.5 average) and three scores. It could have easily been five to six touchdowns. His play on special teams earned him second-team All-American honors by the USA Today and Football Writers Association.
Pierson-El was also supposed to be the star in Riley's jet-sweep game this season.
"It's been a good play for us for quite a few years,” said Riley during the spring. “It's kind of funny how it comes and goes. Sometimes it's probably because of the person. We've had some special people to use with it and De'Mornay (Pierson-El) looks like that kind of guy that can make something exciting happen. I think that sweep play is always going to be something that is part of our identity. There's some other stuff that goes with it that has always been fun to do, and it's nice to see it take shape like that because when it's going it gives you another running weapon in your offense."
In the same release, Nebraska also announced true freshman wide receive Lavan Alston, a four-star prospect, would be sidelined for the year. On Tuesday, in a practice the media was allowed to watch, Alston went down during 11-on-11 drills.