Derby, Fiedorowicz Connecting On, Off Field

A.J. Derby and C.J. Fiedorowicz are bonding at the U.S. Army All-American game here in San Antonio. Read how they're coming together on and off the field in this feature.

SAN ANTONIO - It looked like they had been working together for years instead of days. A.J. Derby felt the heat from the rush, C.J. Fiedorowicz noticed his quarterback in trouble and adjustments were made Wednesday afternoon.

Derby calmly stepped up in the pocket, his tight end broke off his route and a 30-yard completion was accomplished. The longest play of the drive led to an 12-yard touchdown pass from Derby to Ivan McCartney.

OK. So it was only practice for Saturday's U.S. Army All-American game here in the Alamo Dome. It also represented a real feasible glimpse into the future of Iowa football. Both guys have verbally committed to play for the Hawkeyes.

"It was a streak and I saw him scrambling a bit," Fiedorowicz said. "Right when I saw him jump up, I stopped my route. I came back and the DB thought I was still going."

Said Derby: "We're already pretty good friends. I just felt pressure from the backside and I just threw it down the field to the open receiver." ranks Fiedorowicz as a four-start prospect on a five-star scale and the No. 2 player at tight end. Derby is a three-star and the No. 34 quarterback.

Derby was rated higher last season when scouts looked at him as an athlete. Opinions on him have been mixed since he moved strictly to QB.

"Nobody thinks I'm a quarterback for some reason," Derby said,. "Teams recruited me as a quarterback. I'm going to Iowa to play quarterback. I was told I was coming here as a quarterback and then they put me at safety. There was some miscommunication."

Derby was brought here to play safety for the West team, but was switched to QB for the east upon his arrival.

"It felt pretty crisp," Derby said of his play on Wednesday. "There was one play on the zone read I didn't get out fast enough. I kind of slowed up. I was trying. I just got a little lazy."

Derby said he experienced a rocky start to practice here.

"From Day 1 to now, I think he's improved tremendously," Fiedorowicz said. "He was having trouble throwing a spiral early in the week. I think it was nerves and people saying he's not quarterback material. Coming here, quarterback is probably the hardest position to play because if the speed of the game."

Fiedorowicz is adjusting to the increased speed of the game.

"The competition is way more than I thought it would be," he said. "I used to be a big guy back home. Now I'm just of average size.

"The strength I noticed the most. I'm blocking D-ends. They're much more challenging than in high school. Probably my blocking is what I need the most work on."

Derby said he is taking this week's opportunity to continue his quarterback development.

"I'm working on my footwork and accuracy," he said. "I thought my accuracy was pretty good today. I'm also trying to get used to the speed of the game because this is what it's going to be like in college."

Derby is enrolled at Iowa and will start classes later this month. It will allow him to participate in spring drills.

"I'll be there early trying to learn system," he said. "The best man plays so (Rick Stanzi will) probably play (quarterback for Iowa next season). I'm just going to go in and try to figure it out."

Derby is excited to work with Fiedorowicz in the future.

"He's a great athlete," Derby said. "He's a stud. He's a great player and I'm excited to play with him"

The two joked around as they came off the practice field on Wednesday.

"We're both a lot alike," Fiedorowicz said. "We like to joke around and talk about girls."

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