February 19, 2009

Uncle filling Derby in on Badgers

In last season's recruiting class, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst made a big splash in the state of Illinois by landing three-star quarterback Jon Budmayr from Woodstock (IL) Marian Central Catholic.

Fast-forward eight months and Chryst is back at it again, searching the Midwest and looking at some of the nation's best quarterback talent.

Wednesday night, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with one of those prospects, A.J. Derby of Iowa City, Iowa, to discuss his ties to Wisconsin and his current recruitment.

"I now have eight offers," claimed the 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterback. "The offers I have are from Iowa, Wisconsin, Stanford, Cincinnati, Alabama, Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska."

After signing just one quarterback in each of the last two classes, many believe the Badger coaching staff will look to add two quarterbacks in the class of 2010.

"Wisconsin is definitely recruiting me pretty hard. Coach Chryst actually game to my basketball game the other night," Derby said. "I've also been in contact with Coach (Kerry) Cooks and Coach (Bret) Bielema.

"They (Wisconsin) are recruiting me a quarterback. I think that's the best position for me. I like to have the ball in my hand and control the game."

With family connections to Wisconsin, Derby is well educated on the Badger program and knows what to expect in Madison.

"I actually know a lot about Wisconsin," Derby said. "My uncle played there and my dad grew up in Wisconsin. I follow Wisconsin very closely. My uncle gives me weekly updates on the Badgers. He wants me to go there."

Growing up in the state of Iowa, however, Derby has already begun to feel the pressure to play for the in-state Hawkeyes.

"There is a lot of pressure to attend Iowa, but I'm going to make the decision that's best for me," said Derby, whose father, John, was a captain for the Hawkeyes in 1991 and his older brother, Zach, a freshman tight end at Iowa. "Right now I'm wide open."

With a couple junior days already under his belt, Derby expects to take a few weeks off to concentrate on his upcoming basketball schedule.

"I've been to the Iowa and Nebraska junior days." he said. "I don't think I'll make it to anymore because basketball playoffs are around the corner and I want to focus on that. I plan on making it to a handful of spring games."

Derby was named his conference's player of the year as well as first-team Elite all-state (all classes) as a junior after throwing for 1,197 yards and 11 touchdowns.

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