Full Name: Pierre Desir
Birth Date: September 8, 1990
Hometown: St. Charles, Missouri
High School: Francis Howell Central
Desir’s story starts on the island of Port-au-Prince, which is the capital of Haiti. Desir was born there to his parents Marie and Wilfrid Desir, and lived there until the family moved to St. Charles, Missouri when he was four.
He played soccer for much of his childhood, but before his freshman year at Francis Howell Central High School, he told his parents he was going to play football.
His dad was fine with it but his mom was concerned he would get hurt, but eventually he convinced her and Desir’s legacy began.
Desir worked his way up to the varsity roster but made his way there as a junior in 2006 along with the rest of his teammates.
Desir’s first prominent role on the team didn’t come on defense, but as a running back. Desir saw plenty of work out of the backfield as a junior, he carried the ball 118 times for 1,192 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns.
He added another 215 receiving yards to his total on just eight receptions. Desir also excelled on special teams with six kickoff returns for 143 yards and 14 punt returns for 197 yards. Desir still saw significant snaps on defense with 56 tackles and four interceptions.
As a senior, Desir’s role on the offense was cut back but his role as a wide receiver grew. He finished the year with just seven carries for 61 yards, but six of those carries were for touchdowns and he added on 28 receptions for 482 yards as well.
As a senior Desir saw a lot more action on defense and was named an All-State selection at defensive back, was first-team All-League during his junior and senior year and named special teams player of the year as a senior.
Desir didn’t get much attention coming out of high school as a senior. Scout.com rated him as a two-star athlete. While he drew a little interest from Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri, Desir accepted an offer from Washburn and was ready for his move to Topeka, Kansas.
2009 (Redshirt-Freshman w/ Washburn): 33 tackles, seven interceptions, 13 pass deflections, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. 10 kickoff and averaged 29.4 yards per return
2010: (Sophomore w/ Washburn): 46 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, five interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery
2012: (Junior w/ Lindenwood): 60 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, one sack, 18 pass deflections, nine interceptions and one defensive touchdown
2013: (Senior w/ Lindenwood): 33 tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four interceptions
After graduating from Francis Howell Central, Desir enrolled at Washburn University in 2008.
He redshirted in his first year learning the defense and getting used to his new surroundings before he took the field in a prominent role for the Ichabod’s defense.
Desir impact was immediately felt when he stepped on to the field and the first interception of his career which he returned for a touchdown, was only the beginning of what would be a phenomenal year.
Desir would go on to lead the MIAA in interceptions with seven and pass deflections with 13. Desir also finished seventh in forced fumbles, and was named first-team All-MIAA and second-team All-American honors by the Football Gazette.
While Desir’s interception total may have taken a slight step back as a sophomore, the young cornerback had another outstanding season for the Ichabod’s. He still had five interceptions as a sophomore, but also saw an increase in tackles to 44, while also recording 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery. He earned second-team All-MIAA honors, but was not named to the All-American team. It was another strong season for Desir and he was well on his way to having another strong year in 2011.
Desir made the decision to leave Washburn University before the 2011 season due to personal family reasons. Desir and his family lived in area but because of school and football and his fiancee’s work schedule, it was impossible to find an affordable daycare for his kids.
While the school at first refused his release, Desir left the program and returned home to St. Charles, Missouri where he and his fiancee would have the support of Desir’s parents. “I said if I couldn’t find day care, I’d have to switch schools and go to Lindenwood where my parents can help me. I didn’t want to leave Washburn. I tried to get some help but they said there was nothing they could do to help me.
They said they couldn’t give me any more money”. He returned home to his family and enrolled at Lindenwood University, sitting out his first year and being redshirted again, until he took the field again in 2012.
Desir would be playing against familiar competition with the Lions, including a reunion game against Washburn University. He didn’t skip a beat in 2012 after a year off of football and put up even better numbers than in 2009.
Desir recorded nine interceptions on the season to again lead the MIAA and tied for the sixth-most in league history. Desir tied the school record for interceptions in a game with two, and he did it three separate times against Central Missouri, Truman State and Winona State.
He also led the conference and tied for NCAA Division II lead in pass deflections with 18, all helped by recording at least one pass deflection in 10 of his 12 starts. Desir’s season was filled with multiple honors including being named Defensive Player of the Game five times, a 2012-AFCA All-American, second-team All-American by D2football.com and was also named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll.
Desir returned for his senior season and while the team may have struggled going just 2-6, Lee put the team on his back and did everything possible to lead them to a victory every week.
While there was a drop off in production it wasn’t because of dropped interceptions or getting beat more in coverage, opposing quarterbacks had stopped throwing in Desir’s direction.
When they did, they were quickly met by an interception, have the pass deflected or their wide receiver would catch the ball but wouldn’t go any further as Desir would take them down immediately. He still managed to finish this year with 33 tackles, four interceptions, 12 pass deflections and a forced fumble.
He went out on top in his senior season and plenty of awards and accolades followed. Desir was named first-team All-MIAA, AFCA-Division III All-American for the third time and named to the MIAA Academic Honor Roll for the second time as well. He also became the first recipient of the Cliff Harris Award, which is given to the best defensive player from Division II, III and NAIA schools.
Desir was born in Haiti and lived there with his family until he was four, so naturally his roots still go back to his home. When Haiti was hit by devastating earthquakes, it hurt Desir personally. His grandfather and 8-month-old cousin were among the 220,000 people who lost their lives in the disaster. Desir’s parents made multiple trips back to Haiti to help including just over a week after the earthquake.
Desir was unable to visit Haiti during the season but in an interview with Kansas.com, said “With me being a family guy, and all of us being so close...It’s something I think about a lot, and that’s a big reason why I want to succeed, to do good in school and in football, to be able to help them eventually. I feel kind of helpless right now, I want to do more”
Desir is majoring in history at Lindenwood and was a part of the MIAA Honor Roll, further proof of not just his dedication to football and his family, but a commitment to an education and leaving college with a degree.
Desir was a two-sport athlete in high school as a junior, as he was a key member of the Lions’ basketball team, but played in just 13 games averaging 12.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game. But ultimately he decided that the hard-hitting style of football was best for him.
Desir has made his presence felt on the football field and established himself as the best defensive prospect outside of the FBS.
While he may be older than some of the top cornerbacks in this class and come from DII, there is no denying his ability.
While Desir has been known mostly as a ball hawk in the past, he showed this season that he can be a shutdown corner. Quarterbacks just grew tired of throwing it his away and risking an interception, instead they looked to other wide receivers, while Desir shut down his man.
Desir’s athleticism definitely stands out, a former running back with the ability to return kicks. Desir knows how to use his size to gain advantage on the wide receiver and put himself in position to either deflect the pass or intercept it. Desir does a nice job changing direction with his hips, and change direction to follow his man.
Has played for two teams and shown the ability to pick up a defense and play in both man and zone coverage. He brings the instincts and high IQ that some of the best players have to anticipate when to jump on a route and where the play is going.
The obvious knock on Desir is there, he was in Division II and never came across some of the great wide receivers in college football, let alone the challenges he will face with competition in the NFL. It will certainly be a big step up for him but he has the size, athleticism and work ethic to do what it takes to be a good cornerback in the NFL. He will need to improve more against the run; learning to get off blocks and establish better technique when going for the tackle and getting lower. Desir won’t go as high as the top cornerbacks, but has a great chance to prove himself with an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine and prove he is worth of a third-round pick.