Arkansas Adds QB A.J. Derby

Arkansas is adding a huge mid-term pickup in Coffeyville (KA) Community College quarterback A.J. Derby (6-5, 232), a former U.S. Army All American that had offers from Iowa, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin and others out of high school.

There's going to be another quarterback to add to the Arkansas quarterbacking derby this spring.

Coffevyille quarterback A.J. Derby (6-5, 232), a former U.S. Army All American who had offers from Alabama, LSU, Florida, Iowa , Michigan, Miami, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin and others out of high school, confirmed Saturday that he would be enrolling at Arkansas in January.

"I came for the spring game at Arkansas and saw that there would be a chance for me to win the job when Tyler Wilson graduated," Derby said. "The opportunity to do that and play in the SEC is just a great situation for me and I am going to do my best to take advantage of that."

Derby, who passed for 1,935 yards and 22 touchdowns this past season for the Ravens, will be walking on at least this first semester for new Razorback head coach Bret Bielema.

"Coach Bielema told me that he did not have a mid-term scholarship spot available, but that if I came in and worked hard that I could get one next fall," Derby said. "That's why I intend to do and it's not that big a deal to just pay for the one semester seeing as there is a big reward there at the end if I put in the work."

Derby, also an outstanding basketball and baseball player in high school, had offers from Houston and Akron, but chose to walk on initially at Arkansas.

"He's going to give me a fair shot to win the job and that is all you can ask for," Derby said. "I think Arkansas has a great program and this gives me the best chance to hopefully make it to the NFL one day."

Derby is the second mid-term standout from Coffeyville that Arkansas has landed this month along with former North Little Rock linebacker Martrell Spaight (6-0, 220).

"A.J. is a great leader on the field and has a pretty great arm," Spaight said. "He is very mobile and has really great feet. He told me a couple of weeks ago that he was thinking about coming to Arkansas and I am happy he is joining us."

Derby signed with Iowa after a standout prep career at Iowa City High School. His father John Derby was an all-Big Ten linebacker for the Hawkeyes and his brother Zach was a senior tight end this season for the same program.

He was the second-string quarterback as a redshirt freshman before being asked to move to outside linebacker to shore up depth at that spot.

"I just wanted to play quarterback and not linebacker and just thought I needed to get a fresh start somewhere," Derby said. "I ended up at Coffeyville and now have a chance to the job at Arkansas so I feel like it's worked out for me."

Derby moved to quarterback when he was a junior in high school and completed 77-of-136 passes for 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns and also rushed for 1,064 yards and 13 more scores.

As a senior, he passed for 1,820 yards and rushed for 752 yards while also punting for a 40.8 average and played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"I think I have a very good arm and can read defenses and go over my first second and third reads, but also believe that I have the ability to make something happen with my feet when the play breaks down," Derby said. "I'm just working harder to get better every day."

Derby will have two years of eligibility left and will compete with current Razorback quarterbacks Brandon Allen, Brandon Mitchell and Taylor Reed for the starting job this spring.

He is one of six junior college players to come on board at Arkansas since Beilema took over as head coach.

"I'm happy I am going to get to go through spring practice and that will allow me the opportunity to win the job," Derby said. "That's my goal."


A.J. Derby

A.J. Derby

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