powered by the Iowa City Press-Citizen & The Des Moines Register
Subscribe via RSS Feed

A.J. Derby to leave Iowa, eyes Coffeyville Community College

[ 8 ] January 16, 2012 |

First he switched positions on the Iowa football team and now A.J. Derby wants to switch schools, with Coffeyville Community College in Kansas apparently his next stop.

A rumor surfaced late Monday afternoon that Derby planned to transfer to Coffeyville Junior College in Kansas where he would play quarterback for one season before transferring back to a Football Bowl Subdivision school in 2013.

Coffeyville coach Aaron Flores would neither confirm nor deny if Derby planned to transfer to his school. Flores also wouldn’t comment when asked if he had spoken to Derby about transferring to his school.

Flores said to call back in about a week and he might have more information.

“I cannot say anything right now about any of it, even that you and I talked,” Flores said. “I would appreciate that at this point.”

Derby said Monday in a news release announcing his decision to transfer that he didn’t feel the University of Iowa was the best place for him to meet his personal goals as a student-athlete.

“I will miss all my teammates, family and friends who have supported me here,” said Derby, who switched from quarterback to linebacker about midway through the 2011 season. “Good luck to everybody. Once a Hawk, always a Hawk.”

Unfortunately, for Iowa fans, once a Hawk, always a Hawk hasn’t been the case.

The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Derby is the 31st player that signed a national letter of intent with Iowa since 2008 to leave the program before using up his eligibility. The former Iowa City High star leaves after his redshirt freshman season and would’ve had three seasons of eligibility remaining at Iowa.

Derby is one of six players from the 2010 recruiting class, which consisted of 22 players, to already have quit the team.

The others are running back Marcus Coker, who led Iowa in rushing this past season with 1,384 yards, defensive linemen Anthony Ferguson and Donavan Johnson, linebacker Austin Gray and tight end Austin Vier, who had to quit playing football because of medical reasons.

“A.J. asked for his release, which has been granted,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “We are sorry to see A.J. leave the program. He has been a positive member of our team and a pleasure to coach over the past two years. We wish him the best as he moves forward with his career.”

A.J. Derby didn’t return a phone message left by the Press-Citizen, nor did his either of his parents. His father, John Derby, played linebacker at Iowa from 1988-91, earning first-team all-Big Ten honors as a senior.

A.J.’s older brother, Zach Derby, is also a walk-on tight end on the Iowa football team and started four games this past season as a junior.

A.J. Derby began the 2011 season as the backup quarterback, but then he was suspended for two games in early October after being charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and public intoxication. He appeared in two games at quarterback before the suspension, completing 3-of-6 passes for 30 yards.

Derby switched to linebacker after returning from the suspension and then played on special teams in the final seven games.

He led City High to the Class 4A state title in football as a senior in 2009, playing quarterback and linebacker. He earned first-team all-state honors as a junior and senior and he participated in the prestigious Army All-American Bowl as a senior.

Derby’s decision to transfer to another school was a shock to City High football coach Dan Sabers.

“I had no inklings,” Sabers said. “I’m not a coach that keeps track and checks in all the time to see how everybody is doing and all that. So I may be a coach that’s not quite in the loop as much as others.

“But I had no inkling whatsoever of this.”

Sabers said Derby never expressed frustration to him about his situation at Iowa.

“I’ve had very little contact with A.J. and that’s not uncommon,” Sabers said.

Derby’s close friend John Chelf, who played with him at City and now is a walk-on receiver at Iowa, said he couldn’t comment on the situation when contacted by the Press-Citizen.

Derby would have to sit out the 2012 season if he transferred to another Football Bowl Subdivision school, meaning he would lose a season of eligibility after being redshirted at Iowa in 2010. He also couldn’t be on scholarship if he transferred to another Big Ten school because the Big Ten has rule that prohibits a student-athlete from transferring within the conference on scholarship.

Derby could play next season if he transferred to a Football Championship Subdivision school such as Northern Iowa or Southern Illinois or to a Division II, Division III or junior college.

Former Iowa running back Mika’il McCall said this week that he planned to transfer to Southern Illinois after spending his true freshman season at Iowa this past fall. McCall injured his ankle in the season opener against Tennessee Tech and then didn’t play again until the 11th game against Purdue. He was then suspended from the team shortly after the Nov. 19 game at Purdue and didn’t play against Nebraska or against Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl.

Coker also was suspended from the Dec. 30 Insight Bowl for violating the student code of conduct. It was announced on Jan. 10 that Coker would not return to Iowa for his junior season.

Press-Citizen reporter Susan Harman contributed to this story.

Tags: , ,

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

Comments closed