Turns out A.J. Derby is a quarterback after all.
The redshirt freshman officially was tabbed as the No. 2 quarterback by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on Tuesday.
“A.J. Derby, if we were playing tomorrow, he’ll be the next man in,” Ferentz said. “I expect it to be that way Saturday.”
Iowa opens the season at 11 a.m. Saturday against Tennessee Tech.
Derby was highly recruited out of City High as a quarterback and athlete, and picked Iowa over offers from Florida and Oklahoma, among others.
Derby graduated early and spent the spring of 2010 with the Hawkeyes. He redshirted last fall, and reached back-up quarterback status this spring when junior James Vandenberg moved into the starting role.
“It was a big learning curve for him, certainly,” Ferentz said. “He’s an excellent high school football player. I think he’s becoming a good college quarterback. It’s a progression.”
Ferentz admitted it was a very close call between Derby and junior John Wienke.
Derby (6-4, 232) brings a dimension neither Wienke nor Vandenberg can: the ability to run with the ball. He ran for 752 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior with the Little Hawks.
“The one thing he has, probably as good as anybody we have back there, he’s got excellent feet,” Ferentz said. “That’s a good thing for him. He’s got great size. He’s a competitive guy.
“It’s coming along well. Just hopefully he’ll continue to improve and we expect him to.”
» INJURY UPDATE: Ferentz ruled five players out for the coming Saturday.
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Carl Davis is out this week.
Sophomore defensive back B.J. Lowery had an arm injury and will miss a month.
“I think we have a chance to get him back three weeks from now,” Ferentz said.
Sophomore offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan and sophomore linebacker Dakota Getz still are working back from offseason injuries.
Sophomore fullback Brad Rogers still is out indefinitely with a heart-related issue.
“He’s out of harm’s way, doing fine there,” Ferentz said. “We’ll see how that progresses.”
» NEW BLOOD: Ferentz indicated somewhere between “six to nine” true freshman could see action this season.
“We’ll let this week play out, see what happens,” Ferentz said.
He didn’t get into a lot of specifics, but mentioned running back as one position where the young player could help out right away.
Iowa welcomed three running backs — Damon Bullock, Jordan Canzeri and Mika’il McCall — to campus this fall.
“We’ve been pleased with all three of the guys,” Ferentz said. “I think all three are capable of going out there.
“All three of them are capable of going the wrong way. That percentage is getting smaller with each day. But it’s still there.”
» HAPPY RETURNS: Ferentz revealed the choices to handle kickoff and punt return in the updated depth chart Tuesday.
Keenan Davis and Jordan Bernstine will be back on kickoffs, and Micah Hyde and Marvin McNutt will handle punt returns.
“Keenan worked some at that position last year. Jordan is enthusiastic and eager to do it,” Ferentz said. “That’s part of being a good kick returner, too.”
» ROSTER NOTES: Ferentz indicated that junior Matt Tobin would get the start at left guard but that redshirt freshman Brandon Scherff would rotate in.
“Brandon Scherff missed some time in camp,” Ferentz said. “Matt Tobin took advantage of that opportunity.
“Unless he blows up this week, which I don’t expect him to do, he’ll probably start the ballgame.”
Redshirt freshman Matt Meyers and junior Jonathan Gimm were listed as co-starters, and Ferentz said “we’ll carve out a role for both of them.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football