West Potomac grads sign as free agents with Redskins, Bears

Headshots of Pierson-El and Rotimi

De’Mornay Pierson-El, left, and Bunmi Rotimi, right, signed free agent deals with NFL teams this weekend.

Two West Potomac graduates will be getting their shot at professional football after signing NFL free agent deals on Saturday.

De’Mornay Pierson-El, a 2014 graduate of West Potomac, tweeted shortly after the end of this year’s NFL draft on Saturday evening that he’s headed to the Washington Redskins.

Not long after that, the agent for 2013 West Potomac graduate Bunmi Rotimi tweeted that he had signed a contract with the Bears.

Neither the Redskins or the Bears have made any formal announcements about signing free undrafted free agents, although NFL.com has Pierson-El listed as a Redskin signee and multiple media outlets have reported Rotimi’s signing.

The two West Potomac grads still face a long road ahead to make an NFL roster, but each has overcome the odds to get to this point.

Standing only 5 foot 9, Pierson-El is one of the best all-around athletes to come out of the Richmond Highway area. He was a standout basketball player at West Potomac, but it was on the football field where he shined brightest. He played wide receiver, quarterback, running back and defensive back during his time as a Wolverine, accounting for nearly 70 total touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing.

Pierson-El played collegiately for four years at Nebraska, and earned his degree in Communications Studies in December.After leading the nation in punt return yardage as a freshman, Pierson-El played in only five games as a sophomore, with a devastating knee and leg injury cutting his season short.

Pierson-El was able to return to the field for his junior season, working to regain his previous form. As a senior, Pierson-El finished with a career-high 45 receptions for 623 yards and five touchdowns.

Bunmi Rotimi (Old Dominion University image)

Unlike Pierson-El, Rotimi was not heavily recruited by FBS (Division IA) schools, despite an impressive career with at West Potomac. He walked on at Old Dominion University and redshirted his first year with the Monarchs. But Rotimi managed to play his way into a scholarship the next fall, and after his redshirt freshman season he was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team.

After playing defensive tackle his first two years at ODU, Rotimi switched to defensive end as a junior — a move credited with turning around the Monarchs’ defense during the program’s first-ever bowl season in 2016.The 6-foot 4-inch, 275-pound Rotimi earned Conference USA honorable mention honors in 2016 and 2017, and finished his ODU career with 139 tackles, 26.5 tackles for loss, and 19 sacks.