A.J. Epenesa to Iowa: Hawkeyes Land 5-Star DE Prospect

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2016


Class of 2016 defensive end prospect A.J. Epenesa announced on Twitter that he has committed to the University of Iowa on Sunday.  

Per 247Sports, Epenesa is the No. 1 rated strong-side defensive end in the nation.

Coming out of Edwardsville, Illinois, Epenesa is also the top prospect in his state as well as the 13th-ranked recruit in the nation. 

At 6'5", 230 pounds, the high school senior already has the stature of a fully grown man. His physique creates a hulking presence on the defensive line, and he uses it to his advantage. 

Epenesa isn't the quickest defensive end out there, but he makes up for it with superior strength and athleticism. He is able to shed blocks with ease and has shown the kind of football sense needed to diagnose plays early. 

Iowa gets its second defensive end commit in Epenesa along with 3-star in-state recruit Coy Kirkpatrick. Epenesa is the Hawkeyes' fifth 2017 commit so far, per 247Sports. But Epenesa is Iowa's greatest prize so far, as the other four are 3-star recruits. 

HawkeyeNation.com's Rob Howe liked what he saw from Epenesa:

2015 was quite a season for the Hawkeyes, who rose through the ranks of college football and enjoyed a brief spell as a top-four team. They had a chance to compete for a national championship in the College Football Playoff but fell one win short in the Big Ten title game to Michigan State. 

Getting 5-star-caliber players like Epenesa will ensure that the Hawkeyes continue to build on the momentum they gained last year as they try to take that next step toward a national championship.