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Iowa Star A.J. Epenesa Outlines All Of The Ways He's Looking To Improve His Game

Iowa's A.J. Epenesa reaches for Northwewstern's Clayton Thorson.

IOWA CITY, IOWA- NOVEMBER 10: Quarterback Clayton Thorson #18 of the Northwestern Wildcats breaks a tackle in the second half from defensive end A.J. Epenesa #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes, on November 10, 2018 at Kinnick Stadium, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

A.J. Epenesa is one of the most hyped Iowa stars in some time. The Hawkeye pass rush specialist is projected as a top five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

That is after a year in which he didn't even start. Epenesa lagged behind two other players at his defensive end spot in snaps, but was deadly in passing situations, and led the Big Ten with 10.5 sacks from the bench.

He steps into the starting lineup this fall. That doesn't mean he's resting on his laurels and coasting to the NFL Draft.

When asked about what he could learn from his graduating positionmates, A.J. Epenesa said he's using them as inspiration for ways to grow his game.

He took parts of the games of former Iowa linemen Parker Hesse, Anthony Nelson and Matt Nelson, and said that he realized he can still work to add some of the things at which they excelled.

From The Gazette:

“I literally said something like this to my teammates the other day,” Epenesa said. “If I could create my perfect self ...

“I’d take Parker’s effort and ‘want-to,’” Epenesa said. “Everyone knows Parker’s effort was the greatest anyone could every ask for. Anthony Nelson’s technique and fundamentals, he’s just the most fundamental and technically sound player I know. Matt’s size, he’s obviously a big dude.

“I’d mix in my athleticism. If I could create that, it’d be great.”

You still haven’t heard the good part.

“After I said that, I thought, ‘I’m capable of doing those things on my own,’” Epenesa said. “I can put in a little more effort like Parker. I can focus in on the details more like Anthony. All of those things can come to fruition and be real, it’s just a matter of me doing it.”

Throw in an extra 200 or so snaps, with Epenesa's existing pass rush prowess, and Iowa fans could be set for something really special this fall.

[The Gazette]