#21 Derek Blessing | Corner back
Hometown: Ogallala, Neb.
Previous School: Ogallala
Major: Secondar education - Biology and Chemistry
First Team All-GPAC punt returner
Honorable Mention All-GPAC kick returner
Beyond Sports Network First Team All-America punt returner
GPAC Special Teams Player of the Week - Sept. 24, Oct. 15
Blessing starred as one of the nation's top punt returners in 2012 as he led all NAIA players with 388 punt return yards and three punt return touchdowns while finishing second with an average of 18.5 yards per punt return...ranked 14th nationally in yards per kick return (25.4) and 20th in total kick return yards (507)...after playing running back in 2011, Blessing converted to corner where he started all 11 games and led the team in tackles (75), pass break ups (6) and forced fumbles (3)...intercepted two passes...punt return touchdowns covered 71 (vs. Benedictine on 8-25-2012), 56 (vs. Dordt on 9-22-12) and 50 yards (vs. Northwestern on 10-13-12)...recorded a career best 10 tackles in a win over Dakota State (S.D.) on 9-29-12.
Played in all 11 games during his sophomore season...finished third on the team with 335 rushing yards on 71 attempts...averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 30.5 rushing yards per game...scored two rushing touchdowns on the year, including a 97-yard touchdown against Dordt College on 9-24-11...finished with a career-high 111 yards on just five carries in the win over Dordt on 9-24-11...also had a rushing touchdown in Concordia's win over Dakota State University on 10-1-11...caught 19 passes for 105 yards on the year...caught three passes at Dakota Wesleyan on 9-10-11 and at Dordt on 9-24-11.
Prepped at Ogallala high school for four years ... Senior year had fifteen touchdowns and fifteen interceptions .. Earned All-State first team honors along with All-Conference honors ... Earned three varsity letters ... In basketball Derek earned three varsity letters ... While participating in track he earned four varsity letters, qualified for the state meet twice, and was district champion in the 110m high hurdles ... Participated in band, one acts, fall play, and speech ... He was on the student council, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society.
Son of Randy and Julie Blessing.