Hawkeyes’ A.J. Epenesa declares for NFL Draft

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Running back Toren Young also announces he's forgoing final year

A.J. Epenesa #94 of the Iowa Hawkeyes during the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl at SDCCU Stadium on December 27, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa declared for the 2020 NFL Draft on Tuesday, joining Hawkeyes teammate Geno Stone in leaving early for the next level.

“Over the last three years, I have had the amazing opportunity to play for the University of Iowa. I got to live my childhood dream and represent the black and gold,” Epenesa said in a social media post. “After long discussion with my parents and loved ones, I have decided to follow another childhood dream and enter into the 2020 NFL Draft.”

Here is his full message:

Epenesa, who had 101 tackles — 61 solo — and 26.5 sacks — 24 solo, was named the defensive player of the game in Iowa’s 49-24 win over USC in the Holiday Bowl. He was also had eight forced fumbles and was named All-Big Ten.

Kirk Ferentz shared his thoughts on Epenesa during Adam Rossow’s one-on-one interview leading up to the Holiday Bowl.

Epenesa never held back his love for Hawkeyes fans, his teammates or the St. Louis Zoo:

Later Tuesday, Iowa running back Toren Young announced he “would forgo my fifth year at the University of Iowa and will shift my focus to, first and foremost, graduating this spring, training, and preparing for my professional life both on and off the field.”

Here is his full announcement:

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