The Highest Recruit in Kirk Ferentz Era lived up to high expectations
AJ Epenesa has had high expectations attached to his name since he committed to Iowa. By all accounts, he has lived up to those expectations.
In AJ’s first two seasons, he picked up 15 sacks and forced 4 fumbles, despite not starting a single game. This season, facing double and triple teams, Epenesa picked up 9 sacks and 3 forced fumbles.
Virtually the only thing holding Epenesa back is a somewhat inaccurate perception that he started the season slowly.
AJ Epenesa has affected every game he’s played in, regardless of whether or not he had the statistics to validate it. Still, if NFL analysts are seeing this misconception as inconsistency, AJ could drop in the draft.
In spite of the consistency criticism, most mock drafts show Epenesa at number 11, at the absolute worst.
As a fan of Iowa football, I hope AJ comes back for his senior year. I truly believe that he is the difference between a 6-win season and a 10-win season.
I do not know how detailed the draft evaluation process is for potential players. That is, I don’t know whether they are told if they are a potential top 5 pick rather than simply a first-round talent.
The only thing Epenesa can do to help his draft stock is to avoid going in the same class as Chase Young.
However, if Epenesa is given the impression that he is a top 10 pick, I don’t see much beyond loving his time in Iowa City keeping him in school.
Should I stay or should I go: Unless your heart tells you otherwise, declare for the draft