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A.J. Derby secures starting job at Arkansas

[ 0 ] August 26, 2014 |

derbyIt has taken four years, three different teams and two position changes, but former City High standout A.J. Derby finally has secured a starting position as a college football player.

Derby, a fifth-year senior who started his career at Iowa in 2010, is listed as the No. 1 tight end for Arkansas in preparation for Saturday’s season opener against Auburn.

The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Derby transferred to Arkansas after playing the 2012 season as a quarterback at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.

Derby spent two seasons at Iowa, where he switched from quarterback to linebacker during his redshirt freshman campaign in 2011. Derby made an impact on special teams, but he transferred after the 2011 season because he wanted to play quarterback.

After playing one season in junior college, Derby chose to walk-on at Arkansas where Bret Bielema, a former Iowa defensive lineman, was the new head coach. Derby started one game at quarterback for the Razorbacks last season against Rutgers while appearing in seven games overall.

Derby switched from quarterback to tight end this past spring in search of more playing time. He performed well enough during spring practice and during the offseason that Bielema raved about Derby at the Southeastern Conference Media day event in July.

Derby also was put on scholarship for this coming season.

“A.J. Derby, in my opinion, may be one of the surprises of our football team, but one of the best stories in the SEC this year,” Bielema said. “I think he’s shown us in practice what he can be is truly exceptional.”

Derby is the son of former Iowa linebacker John Derby and the younger brother of former Iowa tight end Zach Derby. John Derby played with Bielema at Iowa.

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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.

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