Iowa Northwestern Football

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa was named first-team all-Big Ten on Tuesday. He leads Iowa with nine sacks.

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A.J. Epenesa, a two-time all-Big Ten defensive end who dominated throughout his three seasons on the Iowa football team, announced this morning plans to enter the 2020 NFL draft.

Projected as a likely first-round selection, Epenesa's decision to forego his final season of eligibility was expected and he joins Geno Stone in becoming the eighth Hawkeye in the past three seasons to leave early.

He announced his decision on Instagram, thanking coach Kirk Ferentz for giving him a chance and thanking his family for supporting him throughout his career.

Epenesa started just one season for Iowa, but was so dominant in a reserve role as a sophomore he earned all-conference recognition after leading the league in sacks.

He finished his career with 26.5 sacks, reaching double-digit totals the past two seasons.

This article originally ran on qctimes.com.

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