Iowa pass rusher Epenesa declares for NFL draft

Field Level Media

January 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa is foregoing his final season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

Widely regarded as a first-round pick, the 6-foot-6, 280-pound pass rusher led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks in 2018 and finished third with a career-high 11.5 sacks in 2019.

“Over the last three years I have had the amazing opportunity to play for the University of Iowa,” Epenesa posted Tuesday on Instagram. “I got to live my childhood dream and represent the Black and Gold. After long discussion with my parents and loved ones I have decided to follow another childhood dream and enter into the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Epenesa capped his career with Defensive MVP honors in the Hawkeyes’ 49-24 victory against Southern California in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27 in San Diego.

His three-year totals included 26.5 sacks, 36 tackles for loss, 101 total tackles and nine forced fumbles.

“My time at Iowa has been everything I dreamt it would be, and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the Swarm and play in Kinnick Stadium in front of 70,000 Hawk fans,” he wrote. “I will never forget the many great memories that have come from Iowa!”