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A.J. Derby leaves Iowa

This news story was published on January 16, 2012.
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Marc Morehouse, CR Gazette –

A.J. Derby has asked for a release from his scholarship and will transfer from the University of Iowa, the school announced Monday.

Derby was a redshirt freshman quarterback for the Hawkeyes last season before coach Kirk Ferentz asked the 6-foot-4, 232-pounder to move to linebacker after injuries took bite out of the depth chart.

Derby’s father, John, played linebacker for the Hawkeyes from 1988-92. Zack Derby, A.J.’s brother, will be a senior tight end for the Hawkeyes next fall.

“A.J. has asked for his release, which has been granted,” Ferentz said in a release. “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.”

That paragraph has been used three times since the Hawkeyes’ Insight Bowl loss to Oklahoma on Dec. 30.

After being suspended for the Insight Bowl, running back Marcus Coker announced last week that he withdrew from the UI and asked for a release from scholarship. Running back Mika’il McCall, also under suspension, announced his transfer to Southern Illinois via his Facebook page.

Derby, who completed 3 of 6 passes for 30 yards and recorded one special teams tackle, seemed at peace with his move to linebacker, which came Oct. 22 against Indiana. This also came after Derby was charged with public intoxication and fourth-degree criminal mischief after an early October incident in which he punched out a bus window. He was suspended for two games.

“I’m not going to look back now, I’m going to look forward,” Derby said describing a phone call from Ferentz that asked him to make the switch. “I’m very excited about this opportunity.”

Derby won the No. 2 quarterback spot coming out of fall camp. Derby led Iowa City High to the Class 4A state football title as a senior in 2009. He rushed for 15 TDs and threw for another 23.

“I would like to thank the University of Iowa and football coaches for the opportunity,” Derby said in the UI statement. “Unfortunately, I don’t feel this is the best fit for me personally to reach my goals as a student-athlete. I especially wish my brother (Zach) the best of luck in the coming year. I will miss all of my teammates, family and friends who have supported me here. Good luck to everybody. Once a hawk, always a hawk.”

If Derby transfers to an FBS school, he’ll be a junior after sitting out next season. If he goes to an FCS school, Derby would be a sophomore and eligible to compete next season.

Derby received 14 scholarship offers before picking the Hawkeyes, including Wisconsin, Alabama, Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.) and Florida.

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