Iowa Hawkeye Football: A.J. Epenesa Profile

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IOWA CITY,Iowa(KWWL)– AJ Epenesa has been a bit of a folk hero ever since committing to play at Iowa — and so far — he’s lived up to the hype — and some believe this is the season that he may just prove to be the best defensive player in the country —

Inside the walls of Kinnick Stadium — A-J Epenesa is an imposing figure —

“He’s a special player. He can change a game.”

“The first thing that comes to my mind is big. He is huge.”

One of the nicest guys off the field — quickly loses that persona when stepping between the lines —

Last season — the pre-season All-American picked up just over 10 sacks — the most by a Hawkeye in about 10 years — while playing only about half of Iowa’s defensive snaps — this year he’ll be let loose full-time —

AJ Epenesa/Iowa Junior Defensive End
“The biggest thing for me is just to prepare myself and prepare my body for longer games, more plays, for the wear and tear I might get this season for getting the majority of reps.”

Epenesa will be looking to bolster an Iowa defense that’s already proven formidable the past season. The Hawkeyes gave up just 17.8 points and 293 yards per game — both ranked second in the Big Ten a season ago —

They’re looking to have an even bigger impact this time around

“We have some things we have to fix up and we have some holes that need to be filled, but I think overall we can complete and we can play with anybody.”

And of course there’s already talk of the Iowa junior making the jump to the NFL as a likely first round pick in next year’s draft — but he’s not talking about that just yet — and says his focus is on nothing but the upcoming season —

Rick Coleman

Rick Coleman

Sports Director
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