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 Data Scout Notes: 2020: 01/14/20-Announced Early Entry into 2020 NFL Draft...2019: 1stC...PHendricks/P1stDS/PNagurski/PBednarik/PLott...2nd team All-Big Ten, Media 1st team All-Big Ten, AP 2nd team All-Big Ten w/37 TT, 16.5 TFL, 10.5 SCK, 4 PBU, 9 QBH, FR returned for a TD, 4 FF, BLK in 13 gms in '18. Big Ten All-Freshman Team w/15 TT, 5.5 TFL, 4.5 SCK, PBU, 8 QBH, FF in 13 gms in '17.

  , , Player News

  04/17/20 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  Family has always been at the heart of A.J. Epenesa's life story. One of the most dominant pass rushers to ever wear an Iowa football uniform comes from humble roots. His father, the youngest of seven children, moved to the U.S. from a poor family in American Samoa, dreaming of something bigger for his future sons and daughters. Now that long-awaited moment is here. Even if it isn't exactly how the Epenesas envisioned it. The global COVID-19 pandemic has turned the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, into a coordinated event of video streams. America's top football prospects will be at home, rather than under the fountains of the famed Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas as originally planned. "My brothers and sisters have never seen anything like this," says Eppy Epenesa, A.J.'s well-known father to Hawkeye fans as a former Iowa defensive lineman in the 1990s under Hayden Fry. "So, I was planning to get (them) together."

He had pledged to fly two sisters to Vegas from "the island," as he calls it, of American Samoa (a small U.S. territory in the South Pacific Ocean). Two living brothers (Eppy's oldest brother is deceased) and a sister live in California; they were planning to venture to Vegas, too, for an unforgettable family celebration. While different, the upcoming party will be packed with meaning and joy. A.J. Epenesa is expected to be a first- or second-round pick and could command a rookie contract worth eight figures. Instead of taking a short Bellagio boat ride to shake hands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Epenesa will be seen by America from his parents' living room in Glen Carbon, Illinois. - Iowa City Press-Citizen


(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen
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  03/30/20 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  Epenesa was a productive player by relying on size, technique, motor and nuance over high-end athletic ability at Iowa. And at 6 feet 5 inches and 275 pounds, he more than passes the eyeball test. Combine that with his 30.5 sacks in 26 games in his final two seasons, and it explains why some considered him a potential top 10 pick. On film, at least, he is worthy of being slotted in that draft area. Given the importance of his position and the need to create pass rush off the edge, someone might put more weight on production and talent than physical test scores and take him in that range. But teams better be sure he can overcome what appears to be less-than-desirable athletic ability to become a productive NFL player.

Sensing the concern about his lack of athletic ability, Epenesa tried to put teams at ease. "I think there's some out there trying to say that I might be slow or not explosive, and I just want to show that I'm not slow and not not explosive," he said. "… I want to prove people who doubt me wrong." Unfortunately for him, his 5.04 40 time at the combine - one of the worst at his position - didn't help his cause. He was not much better in the three-cone drill or broad jump, both of which were on the lower end among defensive ends. If teams view Epenesa as strictly a defensive end, those physical numbers make it hard to justify picking him in the upper half of the first round. - Las Vegas Review-Journal


(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
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  02/25/20 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2020 NFL COMBINE INVITE: A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa,... Started all 13 games at defensive end in 2019...recorded 49 tackles, including 32 solo stops and 17 assists...led team with 14.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles...also collected nine QB pressures and three pass break-ups...led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5) in 2018. - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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  12/05/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2019 ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM (COACHES): DL A.J. Epenesa, Iowa,...Epenesa, a native of Glen Carbon, Illinois (Edwardsville High School), earned first-team honors for the second straight year. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week following wins over Minnesota and Nebraska. He leads the Hawkeyes in tackles for loss (13-69), sacks (9-54), quarterback pressures (nine) and forced fumbles (three). He also has three pass break-ups. - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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  12/02/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  DEC 2 BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, Jr., DE, Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville,...Registered a career-high 14 tackles, including two sacks and a career-best 4.5 tackles for loss, in Iowa's win at Nebraska...Led a Hawkeye defense that held the Huskers below 30 points for only the second time all season...Helped Iowa secure its fifth consecutive win in the Nebraska series...Claims his fourth career Defensive Player of the Week honor and second of the season...Last Iowa Defensive Player of the Week: A.J. Epenesa (Nov. 18, 2019). - Big Ten football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Big Ten football
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  11/18/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  NOV 18 BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, Jr., DE, Glen Carbon, Ill./Edwardsville,...Recorded four tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in Iowa's victory against previously undefeated Minnesota...His 2.5 sacks helped the Hawkeyes post a total of six sacks, the most by the school since 2013...Led a defense that held Minnesota to a season-low 19 points...Claims his third career Defensive Player of the Week honor and first since 2018...Last Iowa Defensive Player of the Week: A.J. Epenesa (Nov. 19, 2018). - Big Ten football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Big Ten football
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  08/23/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2019 PRESEASON TED HENDRICKS AWARD WATCHLIST: A.J. EPENESA - IOWA,...Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5), ranked second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in forced fumbles (4), and ranked fourth in the conference in tackles for loss (16.5). - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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  08/13/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2019 PRESEASON PHIL STEELE/DRAFT SCOUT FBS P5 FIRST TEAM ALL-AMERICAN: A.J. Epenesa, Iowa, Jr.,...A first-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5), ranked second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in forced fumbles (4), and ranked fourth in the conference in tackles for loss (16.5). The Glen Carbon, Illinois, native also recorded 37 tackles, four pass break-ups, eight pressures, and a blocked punt. - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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  07/25/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2019 PRESEASON BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY WATCH LIST: DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa,...Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5), ranked second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in forced fumbles (4), and ranked fourth in the conference in tackles for loss (16.5). He also recorded 37 tackles, four pass break-ups, eight pressures, and a blocked punt. - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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  07/20/19 - DE *A.J. EpenesaJr/2020, Iowa, 6-5, 275 (DS#3 DE) + More +

  2019 PRESEASON LOTT IMPACT TROPHY WATCH LIST: A.J. EPENESA, Iowa, DL,...Epenesa led the Big Ten and ranked 12th nationally in sacks (10.5), ranked second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in forced fumbles (4), and ranked fourth in the conference in tackles for loss (16.5). The Glen Carbon, Illinois, native also recorded 37 tackles, four pass break-ups, eight pressures, and a blocked punt. - Iowa Football

(DS#3 DE) Jr/2020 DE *A.J. EpenesaIowa
News Source: Iowa Football
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