1. AJ Epenesa
If you expected anyone but AJ Epenesa to be here, you apparently don’t watch Iowa football. This dude is a man among boys, and he made top tier tackle talent in the Big Ten look like they were playing on skates last season.
He’s also one of those rare Iowa football players who have the talent of a 5-star recruit and the work-ethic of a walk-on which is a dangerous combination for opposing offensive lineman. Last year, in limited snaps, Epenesa led the Big Ten in sacks and he has been talked about as the best defensive end in the country and a possible top-five pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After the Iowa football team lost four starters on the defensive line, he is the main reason people give when saying this defensive line won’t take a step back. He is a transcendent talent similar to a Robert Gallery or Brandon Scherff. He’s a guy who will singlehandedly change the outcome of the game, and for a brand new defensive line, it will be huge to have Epenesa taking on double and triple teams so it can free others up.
Not only is he the best player on the 2019 Iowa football team, by the time things are all said and done, but he may also be the best player to ever play for Kirk Ferentz.